The ACU musical theatre department is hosting a live improv show Thursday in Fulks Theatre. Students enrolled in the improv course taught by Gary Varner, professor of theatre, put the show on every other year.
Improv creates a unique performance where the audience is almost another character in the skit. It sets a rare exchange between actor and spectator. Reminiscent of comedic stand-ups like “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” the students are able to use their skills in a relaxed and spontaneous environment.
Four groups of actors will compete, but only one will crowned victor of the performance.
Finals week is a stressful time for the campus, and the improv show allows for an escape from the chaos, said Varner. He said the opportunity to laugh in the midst of exams should attract the student body to the show.
“I can almost guarantee that before you leave you will belly laugh, and you will be so relaxed,” Varner said. “Laughter is contagious in a large crowd.”
Varner often works with the technical aspects of the theatre department, and his passion for improv is evidenced in his 25-years track of teaching the art to college students. Varner sees the improv live show as a great learning experience.
“Improv acting is an incredible chance to get on your feet and fall on your face,” Varner said. “I honestly want them to fail several times before they leave the class.”
Most students approach the class nervously, fearing that comedy is not one of their strong suits. Seth Womack, junior musical theatre major from Justin, wasn’t sure about the improv at first but was impressed by how much he has improved as an actor through the class.
“I had never had improv training before this course because the idea of it really intimidated me,” Womack said. “The course is hard and challenging, but I’ve learned a lot.”
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