by Miranda Chabot
The Yes& Squad gathers to practice before their Improv Night performance
This Friday, September 8th, a tight-knit group of aspiring entertainers will perform at Cosumnes Oaks High School’s Black Box Theatre – this time without a script. These students will be taking part in one of the most hilarious traditions at COHS: Improv Night. Every year, students put on a sketch comedy show (think “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” or “Saturday Night Live”), completely improvised in front of their live audience.
Even when there are no lines to study, participants have plenty to rehearse. The cast of Improv Night – dubbed the “Yes& Squad” after one of the principle rules of comedy – has been practicing this week after school to hone their creative skills. All prospective members went through two days of workshopping to audition, during which they played many of the games that they will perform Friday.
The performance will be made up of many improv games, featuring different members of the cast. Although they make it look effortless, many cast members found staying in character during scenes to be a challenge. As Senior Veronica Ballejos remarked, “It’s really hard not laughing at yourself, so that’s something we’ve all been working on… even while we’re making fools of ourselves onstage.”
Improv Night began years ago while CO’s theatre teacher, Christina Chun, was working at Elk Grove High School. An alumni, Chris Busath, returned to Elk Grove from his own comedy training in Los Angeles, and offered to train the first cast. The tradition migrated to COHS with Ms. Chun, and has been gracing the Black Box Theatre for all ten years since the school opened. Ms. Chun believes improvisational skills are essential for any actor, saying “it’s training on how to be in the moment and experience your emotions spontaneously”.
“This is the place where we can’t judge each other,” said Jaylin Smith, a senior. “We’re all different people… different styles, different backgrounds… but we all put something funny into this show – that’s why this show is something special.”
While Improv Night is truly only fun and games, all proceeds will be going to a deserving cause. The money raised will go towards funding Wolfpack Performing Arts productions including this year’s fall play, Much Ado About Nothing, and spring musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, which will feature members of the Improv Troupe in their casts.
Now that the Yes& Squad has rehearsed and prepared, the only thing left to boost their comedic energy is a packed audience. When asked who should attend Improv Night, the cast answered as one, shouting “Everyone!” Sophomore Skylie Klose then elaborated, inviting “everyone who likes to laugh… [you] should come see Improv Night. It’s a very fun, positive environment, that everyone can [enjoy]”.
All audience members are welcome. The performance takes place Friday, September 8th, at 7:02 pm. Tickets are $3 presale (online or at the CO Student Store) and $5 at the door, at the COHS Black Box Theatre.
Freshman Omid Rasulzad and Seniors Matthew Chavez
and Seth Smith improvise a western scene
Ms. Chun plays along while giving suggestions to Freshman