Members of the Orangagang, Scene Monkeys and Jackanapes, the three upper school improvisation groups, performed for the community via Zoom on May 23, 24 and 25, respectively.
Students have been rehearsing for the live shows since January, performer Gisele Stigi ’22 said. In light of COVID-19, students met for weekly online rehearsals, in which they played improvisation games and attempted to adjust to an online format.
Upper school improvisation groups adapt to online format
Performer Shoshie Bernstein ’22 said that despite the challenge, online improvisation has been enjoyable.
“So much of improvisation is based on matching other people’s energy and [stage presence] and moving around, so I was unsure how the Zoom meeting would work,” Bernstein said. “However, [performing arts teachers Michele Spears andLisa Peters] were able to come up with ways to modify games to work over Zoom and even came up with some brand new games that allowed us to take advantage of the Zoom setting.”
Echoing her sentiments, Stigi said although performing was nerve-wracking, it was an overall positive experience.
“There’s clearly a lot of difference in online performance and performing in real life because you can’t interact with people in the same way, and you can’t connect with them in the same sort of way, both physically and energetically,” Stigi said. “It’s been really interesting having to adapt to the environment by creating new games, changing the games we’ve already known and by really learning as we go. It’s exciting in that way because it’s new and because everyone is in the same boat, trying to figure it out.”
Improvisation group members enjoy engaging peers
Bernstein said she enjoyed watching her peers think creatively during the show.
“It amazes me [that] my peers are able to do such amazing things while thinking on their feet,” Bernstein said. “The reason I decided to do improv is because I think it is an amazing skill to have both for acting and doing musicals and also for life. Improv is definitely not something I consider my strong suit, but I feel so lucky to be able to do it in such a safe space with no judgement.”
Performer Ash Wright ’22 said she has enjoyed meeting and connecting with people through a shared love of improvisation.
“I actually enrolled in improv because two of my friends convinced me to go one Friday since my [soccer] practice had been canceled,” Wright said. “After that [I] kept going because it was just so fun and amazing to me that people were so good at it since it’s entirely [about] imagination and [being in the] spur of the moment. I liked the way it was a very open environment, and I felt so welcomed around everyone.”