Ladysmith Secondary School’s annual improv show starts this week

Ladysmith Secondary School presents IMPROVable 13 Nov. 15-17 and Nov. 22-24.

Ladysmith Secondary School performers put the finishing touches on their freestyle finale to IMPROVable XIII’s opening number.

It’s not only plausible. It’s not only probable. It’s back!

IMPROVable, Ladysmith Secondary School (LSS)’s annual improv show, is back for a 13th consecutive year.

The LSS improv club will host its first performance of IMPROVable 13 on Thu., Nov. 15 and will host a total of six shows this year.

Bill Taylor, LSS’s drama teacher, says the show’s a slice of “cabaret-style dessert theatre” with a heavy topping of audience participation.

Performers will serve audience members, seated at candle-lit tables placed on tiered platforms in the school’s multi-purpose room, pie and coffee or tea.

After an opening song and dance number, improvisors will introduce scenes by soliciting suggestions from spectators or by asking for volunteers.

Hilarity ensues as audience members are ushered to the stage and posed as statues to be manipulated by performers, or when improvisors work their magic to transform a suggestion into unpredictably random and comical scenes.

“It’s always entertaining,” said Rachelle Younie, a Grade 12 student and senior member of the club who’s been involved with the show for five years.

Younie said she’s looking forward to showing her friends and family everything the crew’s been working on. The highlight of last year’s show, she added, was how selflessly senior members helped junior members during the performance.

The improv club tallies a total of 70 students in its ranks, ranging from Grades 8 through 12.

Taylor, who’s co-ordinated the show since its first year, said the club spends months rehearsing for the show every year. Helping students develop a sense of trust and confidence is key when it comes to performing improv, Taylor added, and part of the process involves cast and mentors attending an annual improv camp the weekend before Halloween. Students rehearse both in teams and as a collective, and experienced members offer guidance and support to younger members.

Senior members take on key leadership roles — the dance steps to this year’s opening musical number were choreographed by Anna McNab, a Grade 12 student and five-year veteran of the club — and teachers and alumni volunteer as performers and mentors, too.

The time and effort contributed by teachers and volunteer mentors hasn’t gone unnoticed by students.

Nathan Krauza, a Grade 12 student who’s been with the club for five years, said the dedication of teachers is “amazing; I don’t know anyone else who puts in as much time as they do.”

“They want to be here just as much as us,” he added.

A handful of past members will make cameos at IMPROVable 13, Taylor said.

Notable alumni making appearances include Evan Miller, Kendall Patrick, Aleisha Kalina, Stephanie Humphries and Stef Lang.

IMPROVable 13 will run nightly from Nov. 15-17 and Nov. 22-24 at LSS. Tickets cost $7 for students and seniors and $10 for the general public.

Improv fans can purchase tickets at Salamander Books at the LSS accounting office or at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for dessert, and the shows start at 7 p.m.

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