A month after finishing tied for a respectable sixth-place at the Canadian Improv Games (CIG) in Edmonton, the Lloydminster Comprehensive High School (LCHS) Improv Club Entertainers (LICE) is preparing for their monthly improvisation show at the LCHS black box theatre on April 2.
The Better Late than Never show will be made up of two performances, a traditional “theatre sports” show at 6 p.m., where the students break off into teams and compete in various improv games, and a new experimental game format called “Maestro,” in which students are grouped randomly and gradually eliminated, at 8 p.m.
“It gives them the chance to improvise with everybody, so it’s not just the same team all night,” said LPSD drama teacher and LICE coach Simon Stang. “It really levels the playing field because a very strong three year improviser is just as likely to get eliminated off the bat as a rookie improviser just because every scene is scored the same.”
The audience scores the scenes on a scale of one to five by applause, and at the end of each round the student with the lowest score is eliminated until there is only one person standing.
Stang says the reason for breaking the show into two performances is that in the past some of their shows have run long, and he wants audience members who have work or school the next day to be able to attend at least the earlier showing. Stang says LICE’s experience at CIG, while exhausting at first, made them a better team.
“I think in the long run it definitely paid off. Their scenes are looking a lot more structured and they can tell what they’re doing and they’ve definitely improved” he said. “We just did a dry run through of this Maestro format and they honestly did some of the best scenes that I’ve seen in a while.”
Stang says hosting the monthly improv show is a good way for the students to prepare for future performances, including their year-end fundraiser show in May.
“We’re doing it for a bit of practise, try out the new format,” he said. “The year is winding down so some of my Grade 12s are realizing that their improv days in high school are almost over, so they want to get as much in as they can.”
Tickets for Better Late than Never are available at the LCHS black box theatre at 6 p.m. on April 2. Admission is $2 for students and $5 for adults.