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Faculty Fundraiser Improv Show was a success

“It was a fun experience but being new to it, challenging to keep track of the prompts and storyline. Everyone was very supportive,” said Hunt. Pictured is the skit, “Film Critic,” where DeBoer and DeClerck discussed “The Friendly Alien.” Photo by: Ava Mohror

The eighth annual Faculty Fundraiser Improv Show brings laughter to Ventura and funding to the drama department

On Friday, Jan. 12, the VHS Drama Department held its eighth Faculty Fundraiser Improv Show. Tickets were available for purchase at the door for $5. The show started at seven and went until 8:15pm. It consisted of 13 different improv exercises and 11 participants who were VUSD staff. Four students from the “What?!” improv troupe joined the staff onstage to assist during the performance. VHS Drama Department director Stefoni Rossiter facilitated the performance, calling out who would be performing in each exercise and when they would start and stop. 

The VUSD staff participants consisted of Amy Lewandoski, Sebastian DeClerck, Bobbie Richards, Linda Bergfeld, Adam Marcinowski, Susan Adamich, Paul Hunt, Lorilee Johnson, Elizabeth Mainz, Arden Smith and Francisco Castillo. The four student assistants were Maja DeBoer ‘24, Quinn McMurtry ‘24, Nick DeGeorge ‘24 and Adam Hibberd ‘24. 

DeBoer ‘24 said, “We had weekly rehearsals for a few weeks before winter break and then rehearsals all week leading up to the show and it was so much fun. It was a different experience than rehearsals with the troupe, but I really loved it and it was really fun seeing the teachers get to play around and have fun doing all the games,”.

The show began with an introduction to all of the staff and student participants as they one by one made an entrance and sat in their assigned seats. In between each improv exercise, one of the four student assistants would be called up to explain the exercise to the audience. To finish an exercise, Rossiter  would ring a bell once she was satisfied. 

Castillo said, “I like how it gets students to see another side of teachers and that it’s okay to have fun.” 

The first exercise was the “Park Bench.” Members were given the directions to, without touching, make the person sitting opposite of them on the bench feel so uncomfortable they get up and leave. This skit rotated down the line, so that all members were given a chance to play both roles in the skit. 

The second exercise was called “Revolving Monologue” where three people were given a prompt to make a monologue about, but at random points the speaker would switch people, and the next person had to pick up where the previous person left off in their monologue. Mainz, DeClerck and Hibberd performed in this with the topic, “I used to be afraid of heights.” 

DeBoer said, “All of the teachers did absolutely amazing, but Mr. Hunt definitely stood out to me. This was partially because of his very enthusiastic fan club, but mostly because it was his first time doing improv and he did such a great job. He really committed to his characters and took risks which is something that a lot of people who are new to improv usually find very challenging.” Photo by: Ava Mohror

The third exercise was called “Threepeat,” during which three members were given a scene that they then had to reenact in three different tones. Adamich, Johnson and DeGeorge performed a wedding dress try-on scene first in a regular tone, then murder mystery, followed by impatience and finally, a children’s theater. 

Following “Threepeat” was “Film Critic.” In this skit, DeClerck and DeBoer were film critics discussing a movie titled “The Friendly Alien,” and Mainz, Castillo, Lewandoski and Marcinowski were the actors who acted out whatever DeClerck and DeBoer discussed about the movie. 

The next skit was called “Soap Opera” performed by Hunt, Bergfeld, Smith and DeGeorge. In this skit, two people would be actors, and the other two people were seated in front of them, prompting them with lines when the actors forgot what to say. Each pair swapped being an actor and a line-prompter for a scene in which twins were reunited after being separated at birth. 

The sixth exercise was the “ABCs.” Performers in this exercise were given a scene, and as they performed the scene, each new line performed by a person had to begin with the next letter in the alphabet following the letter the line previous to it started with. Richards, Bergfeld and McMurtry performed the first scene for this exercise, and were given the topic, “Filming a Youtube video.” For the second scene, Hunt, Mainz and Marcinowski performed as farmers up at dawn and ready to milk a cow. 

The following exercise was called “Build Up, Build Down.” In this exercise, one person would start out with a monologue, and when Rossiter rang the bell, a new person would come in with a completely different scene that the actors on stage would have to adapt to. This exercise worked its way up to four people. Once all four people were on stage, Rossiter would ring the bell three times, until three actors left the stage in the fashion of the scene they were acting out, and finally only the person reciting a monologue is left onstage. Performers in this skit were Hibberd, Adamich, Hunt and Castillo. Hibberd began the exercise with a monologue on a time he lost his keys, Adamich interrupted with a scene involving a car crash, Hunt entered with a scene where two girls fought over a boy and finally Castillo started a scene upon his entrance as a foreign hairdresser. 

Castillo said, “My favorite prompt was the ‘Build Up and Build Down,’ because Mr. Hunt with that pink wig just made it and I was so glad I got to be part of that one because he was hilarious.”

“Storyline” was the next exercise in the show. Hunt, Marcinowski, Roberts, Smith, Lewandoski, Johnson, DeClerck and McMurtry were selected to tell a story, but only one person contributed a word at a time, building the story up slowly based on the word of the previous person. 

Hunt said, “I was not nervous beforehand. I think I’m in front of the stage enough that I’m used to it. If anything my brain was in overdrive trying to remember everything I would need to do.” 

The ninth exercise was called “Song Expert.” In this exercise, one person is the “song expert” who knows all songs ever made and the second person has an absurd favorite song. The “song expert” has to sing along to said song without knowing the lyrics, and is forced to follow along to whatever lyrics the second person sings. This exercise was performed three times. The first was with Lewandoski and DeBoer performing “I’m in love with my dentist.” The second song was “Cupcakes make me feisty” with Roberts and Smith, and the final song was “Oh Evil Twin” with Adamich and Johnson. 

Following “Song Expert,” was “Ask the Expert” where members of the audience are invited to ask complex questions for an improv participant to answer with their “all-knowing wisdom.” Roberts was the first “expert,” and answered the questions: “How do pigeons fly,” “What is the meaning of life” and “Why was it a silent night?” Adamich was the second expert, and she answered the questions:  “Why can’t I get a girlfriend,” “What shape is the Earth” and “What is rizz?” 

The next exercise was “If you know what I mean,” where Bergfeld and Castillo were given the scenario that they were trapped in an amusement park at night and they had to end every line with “if you know what I mean.”

All members of the improv show took their final bows to conclude the show. Photo by: Ava Mohror

“Scripts” was the second to last exercise, which involved two people who are told to act out a specific scene. One person is given a script from a random book, and the second person is left to maintain the contents of the scene while working with the lines the first person is reading from their book. The first scene was “crashing a wedding” where Bergfeld was given the script and Marcinowski was not. The second scene was “doctors getting ready for surgery” where Smith had a script and Lewandoski did not. 

The final exercise of the night was “Pocket Lines,” where each participant was given three lines to use at random moments during their scene. The first scene was with DeClerck and Mainz, their scene was “stuck at the airport.” The second scene was “candy makers out of sugar,” performed by Johnson and Castillo. 

After all of the scenes and exercises were completed, all participants in the show stood together on stage for a final bow and applause from the audience. 

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About the Contributors
Ava Mohror
Ava Mohror, Print Editor-in-Chief
Ava Mohror is a senior at VHS and in her third year at The Cougar Press. She enjoys dancing with Oakley Ballet Center, reading and writing. Her favorite thing to do is spend her whole paycheck shopping with her best friends. 
Elizabeth Gallo
Elizabeth Gallo, Staffer
Elizabeth Gallo  is a senior at VHS in her first year at The Cougar Press. She enjoys music whether listening or playing it, writing poetry, dancing and traveling. Her dream place to travel to is Bali, Indonesia, and she aspires to write a poetry book in her future. 
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