George Washington’s Improv Troupe

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Friday, December 14th was full of laughter as GW’s improv troupe [PANDA]monium took the stage. This night started at 7 pm with the audience making up of friends and family of the troupe. Co-captains, Naomi Vangulick and Derek Von Drehle led this night along, remembering that this was their last improv show of the 1st semester. With the aid of their teacher sponsor, Ms. Harkness, the troupe played many improv games to showcase their funny talents.

For those who do not know, improv comedy is a form of performance where all of the aspects are created in the moment. So the students of this improv troupe have to think on their feet and make sure that whatever they are saying makes sense with the rest of the scene. On top of thinking fast and being articulate, they try to be comedic. It is a very collaborative art form so the students must be comfortable with each other and with themselves so they are able to make jokes without being embarrassed. Alexandra Marusich, a member of the improv troupe, talks about the difficulties of doing improv, “It can be hard. Sometimes your partner doesn’t respond the way you expect them to, so you have to think really fast. And sometimes you don’t know what to say but you have to say something and you just pray that it is funny and the audience likes it. I love doing improv though, but I can always work on getting better and being able to think faster on my feet.” Alexandra has been on the improv troupe since she was a freshman and she only hopes to continue it.

The audience enjoyed their performance, as usual. Audience members typically leave their improv shows happy and aching with laughter. Many of the audience members were students and that night was a break from the stress of finals that occur that following Monday. Nevaeh Hall, an audience member who comes to many of the improv shows, was asked what her favorite thing about that night was and she stated, “I loved watching my friends make jokes of themselves and play my favorite games. They played LOW and I love that game, so I was super excited to watch them play that.” LOW, is a game that involves 3 people, two people leave the room and one stays on stage. they then get a location, occupation, and weapon from the audience. The second person then comes in and the first has to act out all three without using words, when the second person gets it they will “kill” the person with the weapon. Then the third person will come in and try to guess all three categories from the second person. This game is like a really physical, nonverbal game of telephone.

This improv troupe has been going on for many years and every year it is new people, new games, and new captains. This improv show had a GW alum in the audience and he was able to see how much the troupe has changed since he last saw them two years ago. Danny Moore graduated in 2018, but he moved high schools a year before he graduated and this was his first time coming back since he left school junior year. He had mentioned that he really enjoyed watching the improv show but “everything is so different, I recognize maybe 3 people and half the games they played, I’ve never seen. But even with being the stranger in my old school, it was cool watching the show and seeing them play the Sphinx which I know is an old tradition.”

Danny Moore stated that he enjoyed seeing them play the Sphinx, and this is a game that is played by the troupe for years now. Three people stand on stage and they answer questions from the audience, but each person can only say one word, so they try to come up with coherent sentences with three different people. The improv shows always end with this game, so when they announce that is the game they are playing, audience members are aware that the night is coming to an end. The last question is always by a member of the troupe and it is “What should I do if I have an extra dollar?” and this is when the troupe talks about their donations. The Sphinx answers the same way each time, and the captains then will talk about who they are donating to. That Friday, they decided on donating all the money to Toys For Tots. The free improv shows are always a fun night and all monetary support gets donated to a great cause, so keep an eye out on the next improv shows in the second semester!

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