Both improvisation groups had their first rehearsal Nov. 22, three days after performing arts teacher Michele Spears’ announcement that the program will expand to two groups this year.
Spears announced the expansion in an email Nov. 19 to students who auditioned for Scene Monkeys. One group will remain the Scene Monkeys, and the other is yet to be named by its members.
Spears will coach the Scene Monkeys, and her friend from outside of school, Dave Bushnell, will coach the new group.
Jensen McRae ’15, who joined Scene Monkeys last year, said she thought branching into two separate improvisation groups was a good idea because she remembers being very nervous about her first year when she was working with more experienced students.
The second group will help those new to improvisation and performing become more used to it, McRae said.
Alan Yousefzadeh ’15, a member of the newly created group, agrees that expanding into two groups will be particularly helpful for students with less experience on stage.
“It was definitely a great year to do it since there is so much talent,” Yousefzadeh said. “The second group gives people who are naturally funny but may not have had as much experience performing a chance to gain some expertise before possibly joining the Scene Monkeys in the future.”
Auditions started Oct. 25 and went through multiple rounds before the final groups were decided on.
McRae said that this year’s auditions were longer than usual.
Emma Pasarow ’14, who has participated in Scene Monkeys since her junior year, said she is excited about the new expansion.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “Scene Monkeys is my favorite club to be a part of at school, and with two groups more people have the opporunity to join in and be a part of it too.”
Pasarow said that the best part of the expansion was that they were able to cut fewer people.
Out of the 54 who auditioned, 32 students were selected to become part of one of the two improvisation troupes.
Seventeen were placed in the Scene Monkeys, and 15 were placed in the new group.
“With all the talent, both new and old, it’s going to be a great year,” Pasarow said. “I can’t wait.”
The program will continue to hold open improvisation workshops for all students over the course of the year.