A group of students files out of the black box a few minutes after school ends. They squint in the bright light for a moment as they exit the room and walk to the other side of the building. Setting down their backpacks, they sit by the side of the building as captains juniors Olivia Lassa and Jeremi Kalkowski stand in front of them. With a quick gesture and a short explanation, the students jump to their feet and organize themselves in three lines. With this, the Improv meeting begins.
Every day from April 4 to 6, MVHS Improv met to practice for its performance at the Drama Showcase on April 7, where two teams of club members and officers went head to head in a battle of wits. Drama showcase is not only an event for improv, but it is also when the Andrew Segal scholarship is awarded to a senior in the Fremont Union High School District who is pursuing theatre in college. Practicing games and improvisational tactics, the teams began to work together more cohesively as the practice continued. Here’s a look at Wednesday’s meeting.
Click on the arrow to learn more about MVHS Improv members’ experiences.
Members on this year’s team possess varying amounts of improv experience. Senior Himanshu Chaudhary has been on the team for two years. For him, improv has been a way to help him become more confident in his own skin.
This is junior Ian McCulloch’s first week as an official part of the team. Having come to some of the Thursday lunch practices throughout the year, McCulloch is acting as a last-minute member for the showcase. Nonetheless, he’s excited to see what the experience will bring.
Junior Jeremi Kalkowski, a captain this year, says that practices like these really help the team come together and feel fully prepared for the showcase.
“You can’t really improve improv unless you do those practice games. It’s a lot of quick thinking, so it’s just critical on-the-top thinking,” Kalkowski said. “And if you’re not exposed to that all the time, then you will kind of lose it.”
Having been member of improv club in his years before becoming an officer, Kalkowski feels that being a part of the club has helped him grow.
“I learned that there’s more to improv than what meets the eye. I realized that it’s actually really hard, that you have to put a lot of work into it to get good,” Kalkowski said. “But also, it’s so much fun. I didn’t expect to have the amount of fun I had, but I did. It’s something that really not only helped me with off the top of my head thinking, but also helped with confidence.”
He hopes that now he can help others grow in the same way, too.
“As an officer, what I’ve tried to do is bring those lessons,” he said, “And try to show other people ‘Hey, improv is this really cool thing that you should definitely try.’”