Scene Monkeys work with Yale improv troupe

By Mariel Brunman

Snaps of approval for comedic timing and unexpected improvisational lines echoed rhythmically around the Drama Lab on March 6 as the Yale Improvisational Acting troupe, Just Add Water, gave advice to, played games and ad-libbed performances with the Scene Monkeys, the upper school improvisation theater troupe.

Just Add Water is on a spring tour working with high school improvisational troupes, and the Scene Monkeys were one of the crew’s first stops.

“I was really impressed at how advanced and in-sync with each other [the Just Add Water performers] were,” Scene Monkey Haleh Kanani ’12 said. “They just really seemed to know what they were doing and felt comfortable with it.”

Both the Scene Monkeys and Just Add Water meshed quickly through games that tested their accents, acting and musical ability.

“Charlie’s Angels” required one actor to alternate and incorporate fictional characters in two different, unrelated scenes going on across the room while trying to solve each problem presented in the scenes. “Rydell High” challenged the Monkeys to delve into musical improvisation.

“‘Rydell High’ places actors in a common high school setting but pauses the scene and requires actors to ad-lib a song about their situation in any musical style, ranging from rap to reggae,” Scene Monkey Tara Joshi ’14 said.

“I think we were all intimidated and inspired at the same time,” Scene Monkey Lucas Foster ’13 said. “We did musical games, drills and a great game that was centered on increasing levels of chaos. I was pretty excited when I mentioned oil-drinking possums during it and received snaps of approval.”

“Thet are a very skilled group,” Michael Gabriel, a member of Just Add Water, said. “We do a lot of workshops going around to different schools on tours, and I would say they are definitely really good and really funny. It was a fun group to work with in terms of their people skills, their personalities and their creativity.”