By Vivian Kringle
Each year Benicia High School has their improv team. A carefully chosen group of 14 highschoolers varying in age perform a set of games in front of an audience with no rehearsed script. They fill the stage with camaraderie, jokes, and characters.
Nathan Day, the teacher and director for Benicia High’s performing arts, and Nikki Tilitson, this year’s brand new improv coach, worked to improve the team even more than previous years. They have incorporated new, never done things to this year. Instead of only the regular once-a-month performance at the school, they have added new shows all around the town. This year, the team has already performed twice at Lucca’s Beer Garden, Matthew Turner Elementary, along with future shows at 1st Street Cafe, additional elementary schools, the public library, and one more show at Lucca’s. All of these are in addition to the regular monthly show at Benicia High School.
The team has worked on not only telling great stories and becoming great performers, but also working on being a team player. Grace Gabel, one of the 14 members of the team and alumni from previous teams, compares her experience with this team versus previous, saying this team is different because of their ability to “build each other up and making each other look good” onstage.
Tilitson has stressed the importance of making every person support one another on stage leading to a very successful first improv show of the year on November 22nd having one of the biggest audience turnout improv has had in awhile. In improv you must have the ability to step back and create a story with nothing but a simple suggestions and bring it to life on stage. It is magical to watch the group of highschoolers explore their minds in matters of seconds building on top of one another’s ideas, everyone bringing something equal to the team.
The special thing about improv, Tilitson often reminds the audience members, is that, “every show is completely different than the others and everything your seeing is the very first and last time it will be done.” When you are watching an improv show it will never be redone again, which is what makes each show individually special.
I encourage everyone to see at least one of this years shows to get a good laugh and support the schools performing arts. The most upcoming show is Thursday December 12th where they will perform games involving audience members, laughter, teamwork and originality.