Improv club teaches comedic craft
Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 04:09
Students who did not make the cut for the university's two improvisation groups can flex their comedic skills at student run workshops this semester.
Members of The Rubber Chickens and Riot Act formed Delaware Improv Club in May and are now offering workshops within the group to help students develop and hone their improv technique.
Senior Alise Morales, president of The Rubber Chickens and the recently formed DIC, said the new club allows students to participate in improv without auditioning for one of the other clubs.
"We thought it would be nice if there was kind of like a neutral improv zone that everybody could just come to," Morales said. "A lot of times people audition for Riot Act or The Rubber Chickens and they're really good, but they just don't make it that year and there's nowhere for them to go to ever get better."
She said workshops will evolve from basic improv exercises to complex long-form games.
Morales said members of the comedy troupes will lead the workshop and teach a particular aspect of improv, followed by a game to practice. Morales' co-founder and president of Riot Act, senior Ned Redmond said there is a lot of literature on improv, so some group leaders may teach from the text.
Morales said lessons could focus on characters, emotions or two-person scenes. She said lessons will start with the basics, and become more complex over the course of the year with long-form games.By semester's end, she hopes club members will be able to collaborate for a performance.
Redmond, said improv contributed to his ability to overcome social and performance anxiety, an experience he would like to share with others, despite the exclusivity of both groups.
"I feel like I'm a better person for having done improv for so long," Redmond said. "I think it's like a therapeutic thing. You just let go of yourself entirely and just say the first thing you think. I think it's the most pure expression of self."
Morales said improvisation involves thinking and performing on the spot, which builds self-esteem.
"I think it boosts your confidence, and it definitely helps in communication because it gives you this freedom to say the first thing that comes into your head," she said. "You don't have to second guess yourself all the time in improv. It's all about just going with it," she said.
Senior Kate Banford, a member of DIC who attended the group's first interest meeting last May, said she felt improv boosted her ability to adlib.
As a producer and performer on STN's The Biweekly Show, Banford said participation in DIC has helped her develop her performance skills in relaxed environment.
"It actually has helped me exponentially in my confidence, my interviewing skills, just being able to talk," Banford said. "You're more confident with who you are. It's cool just to be able to go there and have a good time, and you're on this high after."
The club is not exclusive to university students, and is open to non-student community members, Redmond said. A teacher from Padua Academy, a high school in Wilmington, recently joined the club. Because of its non-exclusivity and potential for growth, Redmond believes DIC's efforts will increase the presence of improv at the university and produce better performers.
"What I want to see is for the University of Delaware to be known for its comedy and its comedy alumnus," he said.