Hi-ho Silver for LCHS students at the Nosebowl

By Kassidy Christensen

March 7, 2017 12:00 AM

NO DRAMA From back left, Simon Stang, Bhav Grewal, Jared Ramsay, Megan Hawryluk and Alex McDonald, front right, Rei Panopio, Kaitlyn McCallum, and Kierra Payne, seven of the ten students who competed at the Canadian Improv Games in Edmonton are proud of their second place win. Not pictured: Branden Martell, Corie Groome, Myles Dykes. KASSIDY CHRISTENSEN LLS PHOTO

After bringing home second place at the Nosebowl, 10 Lloydminster Comprehensive High School (LCHS) drama students from Grades 10 through 12 competed at the 40th Annual Canadian Improv Games (CIG) in Edmonton Feb. 17 and 19, and brought home a second silver medal.
Attending CIG for a fifth year, LCHS drama teacher Simon Stang said second place is the best finish yet, and the experience itself was one of the best yet.
“The kids really enjoyed it, they made a lot of new friends, (and) the other teams that we interacted with talked very highly of our team and how positive they were and how supportive they were.
“Overall, I actually told the students this is some of the most fun I’ve had going on these trips,” Stang said.
Ten students took to the stage at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton and included Grade 12 students Bhav Grewal, Alex McDonald, Megan Hawryluk, Jared Ramsay, Rei Panopio, Myles Dykes, Grade 11 students Branden Martell, Kierra Payne, and Grade 10 students Corie Groome, and Kaitlyn McCallum.
The troupe was put together in November 2016, and practised two to four hours peek week leading up to the February tournaments.
“Plus we did some full all-day workshops with trainers from Edmonton,” said Stang, who added it was a long process, but all worth it in the end.
Stang said he was proud of the group and personally had a really good time.
“I didn’t have to worry about drama between the students, I didn’t have to worry about their minds being off topic and not focusing on why they were there. It allowed me to just sit back and enjoy the show,” he said.
Stang added he thinks that’s why they placed as well as they did, the team focused on the right things.
“They were focusing on having fun, performing, doing a good show, they weren’t worried about finishing first, they weren’t worried about being better than anybody else. They were just worried about putting on a good show and having fun.
“That’s when you’re going to have the most success in improv,“Stang said.
Competing against 20 other Alberta schools in the regional tournament, and trying to generate enough laughs and points for a spot at nationals, LCHS made it to the final five, facing off against Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School from Red Deer, Westwood Community High School from Fort McMurray, and Lord Beaverbrook High School from Calgary.
In the end, it was Edmonton’s W.P. Wagner High School that took home the gold and a spot at the Canadian Improv Games National Tournament & Festival at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa April 19 to 22.
“We were very close but unfortunately we didn’t quite get there. This is the best finish we’ve ever had, I think the best we’ve ever finished before is like sixth, so this was a nice step up,” Stang said.
Hoping the kids had fun at the tournament, Stang said he also hopes his team understood how powerful teamwork can be and how far it can take them.
With six Grade 12 students participating, and this being “their last kick at it (high school improv),” Stang said, some of them came off stage in tears and were hugging me and hugging each other and hugging the other teams.
“It was pretty cool, I was kind of a proud parent in that moment,” he said.
Jared Ramsay, one of the six Grade 12 students, was witness to the hard work put in by students prior to CIG for two years, and finally was able to experience it himself in his final high school year.
“Finally this year I got to experience it and it was draining, it was a lot of time put into it, but it definitely paid off with finally getting to perform on the stage (in) Edmonton and just the environment just really seemed (like) a lot of fun,” Ramsay said.
“(If) we were performing a scene and if there was a moment the scene kind of lulled, (I tried to) bring some energy to bring everyone up,” he said.
Stang said the interaction between teams and developing friendships was really heartwarming, and is something he’s always wanted to get out of the experience.
“It’s kind of hard when you are that outsider coming in to kind of encourage them (the students) to get out of their comfort zone and make new friends. This year it just felt like I didn’t have to do that, my kids were so warm and welcoming, and it obviously paid off,” Stang said.
“They weren’t worried about points or winning, they were just worried about having a good time … And all of a sudden came with it (was) a really high finish and some really great scenes that they performed,” he said.

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