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Great actors connect without a script

The show with the small audience hosted great laughter

Ana Plankenhorn, Staff Writer

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On September 25th the JHS Theatre Department came together for their second annual Improvisational Showcase. The showcase started at 5:00 PM and lasted for about an hour. The night’s actors included: Jose Avila, Annie Carter, Marquam Dixon, Ozzy Flores, Linda Mora, Ana Plankenhorn, Quetzia Rameriez, Colton Schwach, Jeraldy Tesfaye, and Kara Walter. The show hosts a small audience with great laughter.
The first game called Freeze, hosted by Schwach, consisted of two actors that would act a scene upon a given idea, topic, noun, or adjective. When the host says “freeze” the entire situation changes from the exact point in which it left off. Rameriez and Avila played indecisive leprechauns that could not agree, until Schwach called “freeze!” Then, Rameriez becomes a burglar while Avila becomes a persuasive adult that just wants to keep his job. Rameriez’s snarky, obnoxious character puts Avila in an awkward position. He had a decision to make: argue or go along with the act. To the audience’s surprise, he took a twist. As the two bicker back-and-forth the game ends with the resolution of a trade.
The second game called Hitchhiker, consists of a driver and two passengers. Additionally, a hitchhiker joins with an unclear issue and, slowly, everyone in the car must become the character the hitchhiker leads on. With Tesfaye as the driver, Carter and Dixon as the passengers, and Mora as the hitchhiker; things were ready to boil over. The scene opens with Tesfaye playing a passive aggressive driver with witty comments that agrees with every side of the ongoing debate between the passengers. Carter, playing an aggressive role, asserts control over Dixon, who plays an innocent and defensive role, creating a satisfying and amusing tension. The fun does not begin until the hitchhiker, Mora, comes aboard. Thanks to the audience, Mora’s character was granted a serious case of explosive diarrhea. Through the anxiety of getting to the destination, Mora finds herself out of luck when she resorts to the car’s floor before arriving to the location. Astonishingly, the satisfaction lasted momentarily until the game comes to a closing. Morale of the game: what happens on stage, stays on stage. The game survived an encore starring Dixon as the hitchhiker and Mora as the driver. Dixon persuades the passengers to abandon their destination and instead visit his farm rather than fulfill their spring break plans.
The third game called Dinner Party, hosted by Avila, featured a party host who is challenged to guess the odd quirks of her guests. Walter as the sarcastic and impatient host, immediately identified Schwach’s character with the simple line, “I think he’s a mime or something…” With Flores and Plankenhorn remaining in the game, the active audience waited for their suggested quirks to unravel. Flores, playing Walter’s ex-boyfriend from high school, brought the show to a new level with his emotionally humorous performance. Plankenhorn, playing a sales-woman with bad breath, constantly attempted to get in the way of any chance Flores would have with Walter. In the end, Flores pays Plankenhorn everything he has to win the heart of his beloved Walter.
The fourth and final game called Rant, featured all of the night’s actors, except Schwach. For his senior year, his skills were put to the test. After given a topic, he was to create a monologue from only two minutes of thought. From that the designated groups would begin a short skit on the spot, based upon the given monologue topic. Thanks to Schwach’s humorous and thorough explanation to why “The Night at the Museum” was a horrible idea, the skits ran smoothly.
Before the show Mora stated, “Improv is the start of our theater season and it will be the most unprepared show of the year… it shall be interesting.” Her prediction was correct. The show was an interesting challenge that was hosted in our very own theatre. “We didn’t have a lot of preparation but it’s improv, none of it is supposed to be prepared…” recalls Avila. Most actors agreed the show was both challenging and unprepared. Improv itself is difficult to rehearse, and with minor practice the actors pulled it together. Walter explains, “We worked really – … well, we didn’t really work hard ‘cause it is improv.” The show with the small audience hosted great laughter. After all, great actors connect without a script.

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