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Jessica Flanigan, Staff Writer

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The Lindbergh Luchadores prepare for Another Battle of Wits

Whose line is it anyway?
Well in Improv, there is no set script. In this comedic theatrical production, both the audience and the performers are unaware of what each scene of the night will entail, creating it on the spot. The LHS thespian’s improv troupe, the Lindbergh Luchadores, perform multiple shows every year of improvisational theatre involving spontaneous skits and other games based off of suggestions from the audience.
The Lindbergh Luchadores are back for another show on Friday November 10 (tomorrow), in the auditorium. Admission is $5. With eight performers, this team has strengthened through nearly 20 rehearsals in preparation for this show. But how did this year’s troupe come together?
Auditions were held on August 30 this year. Led by seniors Cullen Curth (12) and Kayla Tennessen (12), the auditions consisted of a series of short form improv games to get the new people familiar with the structure of improv. Many members suggest watching high school or college improv videos to become familiar with the basics before auditioning.
“I joined improv because I went to a show my freshman year and I realized that it encompassed everything I enjoyed most about theater and performance,” Emily Berendzen (11) said.
There are two styles of improv, short and long form. Short form involves lighthearted games that last roughly five to seven minutes, with each building off of a stimulus from the audience. Long form shows are generally 25 minutes in length with a developed narrative using one suggestion. The Luchadores typically stick to short form improv, which is very energetic, fun, and challenging. It keeps the audience engaged and ready to laugh for every scene of entertaining randomness.
Improv revolves around the collaboration of the performers. It requires the ability to keep a scene going when someone throws out an idea and create a small narrative out of it.
“All of my best memories from improv come from me and another person in a scene working off of each other to make these really absurd situations,” Curth said.
It’s important to go along with whatever another person suggests and expand upon what is already being built.
“As long as you don’t blatantly say no to people and work with others it turns into something really cool that you created,” Tennessen said.
One challenging game played by the troupe involves the audience assigning random numbers to each performer. This number will be the amount of words that they are allowed to use for each line. While it’s hilarious to watch, the performers have to carefully count each word they say while also preserving the theme of the scene. Another game often played by the troupe begins with one person leaving the room while the audience gives suggestions for the other performers’ characters. After the first person returns, they all play out the scene subtly hinting at who their character is. In the end, the first person has to guess who or what each person was.
Rehearsing for the performance takes typically two hours a night for many weeks prior to the first show. The window of rehearsals is short lived, beginning at the end of the fall play leading up to the week before the winter musical auditions. Beginning each rehearsal with a warm up, the troupe engages in a quick short form game to get everyone loosened up and ready to act.
The night of creativity continues with more short form improv, allowing anyone to join in on whatever game they desire to. The members develop not only the setting of a scene, but also the relationships between the characters, a short backstory for each character, and have a clear opinion and intention.
“My favorite thing about improv is the release of creativity. As long as it sticks to the structure of the game, it can be anything. You can be any person in any situation,” Berendzen said.
A few hilariously odd skits later, everyone joins together in a circle to end the rehearsal, each person telling someone else a compliment for an improvement or memorable moment of theirs. The first person starts a random noise and it quickly escalates into an improvised beat box song.
Show nights consist of two hours of nearly 10-14 short form improv games with a 15 minute intermission. The troupe decides on the games they will play beforehand and the players, but everything else is up to audience participation and suggestions. Suggestions can be used to give a location, a person’s identity, or an object used in a scene. The show nights are always high-spirited and lighthearted according to Tennessen.
“You don’t have the pressure of someone yelling at you for dropping a line and you don’t have to worry about messing up,” Tennessen said.
While improv theater is extremely funny to watch, it also provides a place for the performers to explore their creativity and confidence.
“Improv is a great route for people to get more and more comfortable with themselves as comedians and performers because it’s all about trust and supporting each other,” Curth said.

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