The Improvables

Back and Better Than Ever

Leah Alessi and Chris Burgess

Photo by Andrea Clifford with permission

Leah Alessi and Chris Burgess

Susan Mullen, Contributor

Over the past four years, the AHS Improvables, a co-curricular club that gives students a chance to perform improvisational skits in front of a live audience, has been bringing their witty and comical routines to the Abington school community. This year they are back and better than ever, with almost 20 students participating in the program.

What the audience gets out of the work that these students share, is an evening of fun and entertainment. But, what do the students in this improv club get out of the experience? We sat in on a recent rehearsal to get an up close look at what makes participation in this particular club worthwhile for its members. We spoke with some of the senior members and asked why they enjoy improv and how it has helped them through their high school career. Seven members of the group this year are seniors: Abby Budwey, Chris Burgess, Alexa Elliot, Katie Griggs, Tim McDonnell, Alyssa McKay and Kim Phan. We listened in as they tried to put the value of being in the AHS Improvables into words.

Improv has definitely helped me be more outgoing and more open and accepting of others.

— Alexa Elliot

“Improv is something I look forward to in the school day because everyone is so accepting,” said Griggs. The seniors indicated that freshmen students should consider joining to help make their transition to high school easier, especially if they need a little help in being more outgoing. “Improv has definitely helped me be more outgoing and more open and accepting of others,” said Elliot. The students in the group also talked about the support they get, not just from one another, but also their audience. The mission statement for this group is that “sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss,” but even when someone misses the audience still claps and is supportive.

For those of you that don’t know, the AHS Improvables meet every week after school to practice playing particular improv games to help develop their improvisation skills and better prepare for their performances. At every practice two MCs (masters of ceremonies) are chosen by Ms. Clifford, the club adviser, to help lead the group in games such as “Hitchhiker,” “Lines,” “Let’s Make A Date,” and “Bus Stop.” These games give the students a chance to build on their skills and create new characters. “Improv really helps you think on your feet and gain good critical thinking skills. It is a place where you can truly express yourself,” Budway said.

If you want to see what this group is all about first hand, you’re in luck. Their first show is scheduled for this fall, on Thursday, November 20. Based on rehearsals, it should be a fun and entertaining event.