Huntsville High School’s improv teams had a stellar showing at the Canadian Improv Games (CIG) Regionals in Sudbury with both the junior Team Bravo Squad and senior Team SNO Storm making it to the final night. The senior team took gold and will be heading to Ottawa for the CIG Nationals from April 19-22; the junior team placed fourth overall.
It’s a remarkable achievement for both teams, the seniors (Couper Ebbs-Picken, Piers Hancock, Ethan Hunter, Melina Lisi-Orfao, Grace Murphy, Sophie Nickerson, Brittney Ransome, and Colin Welsh) for their second win in as many years and the juniors (Meeda Berg, Oliver Byl, Millie Cassie-Batchelor, Dylan Jongers, John McBrien, Luke Murphy, Aria Platts-Boyle, Jordan Ross) for a fourth place finish with a team comprising mostly grade nine students.
In competition, teams have a mere 15 seconds to huddle after they’ve been given instructions by the referee for their four-minute scene, which falls into one of five categories (called events): character, theme, story, life and style. Each team must compete in four of the five events – life and theme are mandatory – and receives scores based on their performance.
In the final round, HHS SNO Storm walked away with a winning 907 points – nine points ahead of BMLSS. HHS Bravo Squad earned 817 points for a fourth place finish.
Grade nine student and member of Team Bravo Squad Oliver Byl tried out for the improv team in part because he’s enjoyed school plays in the past – especially when he gets to play humorous roles – and because he enjoys the comedy improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway? He says Team Bravo Squad worked hard to practice unique frameworks for the events the improv teams must participate in.
After two-and-a-half days of workshops and preliminary rounds, Byl says his team was tired and a bit off by the time the finals arrived. “I think we were not as good as on Friday night when we got into the finals. We didn’t do as well in several different areas, probably because of nerves.”
Grade 12 student and member of SNO Storm Melina Lisi-Orfao auditioned for the improv team in grade nine and says the experience has changed her life. “When I first started I was an introvert and I was extremely shy. Being part of improve helped me come out of my shell – I can speak in public now and it has helped me become more independent and work in a group,” she says. She has been asked to volunteer in the Sudbury region for the Canadian Improv Games if she’s accepted into her preferred post-secondary program.
She says improv is a positive sport. “I believe it’s the most positive and friendly type of competition anyone will ever be part of. In most competitions, people just want to win, win, win, but in improv we make friendships that last a lifetime. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of.”
The Canadian Improv Games Nationals will be held April 19-22 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
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