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Home Arts & Culture Improvables’ final show celebrates senior troupe members

From left to right: Adam Prince, Caleb Jalas, and Alleah Struble sit and laugh on the edge of the Black Box stage at the end of the Improvables show. 

Photo credit: Mi-Ree Zwick

By Mi-Ree Zwick


The Theatre Department’s Improvables held their final show of the year on Tuesday, a 45-minute long-form improvised story, and they celebrated senior troupe members who will graduate at the end of the semester.

The cast used crowd prompts to develop a story focused on two single parents with two daughters each. One parent, a dad, believed in cleaning frogs and taught his daughters to clean frogs. The other parent, a mom, taught her daughters that frogs should be muddy. The single mom was set up to go on a blind date with the single dad and the cast created multiple conflicts that were resolved by the end.

Long-form shows are approximately 45 minutes long and formatted like a story. Each actor is assigned one character for the entirety of the scene. The off-stage cast writes down names and other important information for the sake of continuity.

While long-form improv shows are completely improvised, the off-stage cast brainstorms different ideas to create a cohesive story. Adam Prince, one of the seniors graduating, said the cast had no idea where they were heading in the beginning.

“We just stood back there in silence for like 60 seconds,” he said.

Prince called the Improvables an amazing community of people who go out of their way to encourage and affirm individuals in their capabilities as a person and actor. He said the troupe’s current trajectory will lead to better things.

Other senior members of the troupe are Anna Grass, Brett Determan, and Alleah Struble.

Sarah Stepp, who is returning next year, said she is looking forward to “seeing how we grow as panel members (leaders) and how the entire improv troupe grows because we all get to grow together.”

Jason Church, who also will be a member next year, said he wants to continue cultivating the positive environment the troupe has created.

“The community is very welcoming, very loving, very friendly,” he said.

Grass watched all of the current freshmen members develop and better themselves as actors.

“We have such a committed group of underclassmen. Now two of them are on the (leadership) panel,” Grass said. “I think improv is in really good hands.”

Caleb Jalas, who also is returning, contributed to building the troupe and said he enjoyed watching everyone “grow, flourish, and really come into their own.”

Jalas is looking forward to seeing the current group of freshmen reach out and get more people involved with improv.

“There’s so much that you can learn, there’s so much that you will learn, and we can’t wait to watch you do it,” he said.

Prince said that he was not very good at improvisation when he started but improved over time with the troupe’s encouragement and critiques.

“If there’s any doubt, any part of your brain that’s saying that you suck at this,” Prince said, “maybe [you do], but you get better. Everyone starts off somewhere.”

As an audience member, Grass complimented the cast.

“The characters in that show were particularly strong,” she said. Every single character had their own motive and their own personalities. “They devised characters whose personalities worked together in very interesting, funny ways,” she added.

The final theater event this semester will be Prince’s capstone project. The first performance will be at 6 p.m. on April 19 in the Borland Black Box Theater.

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