University Improv Summit comes to Brock

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The Brock Improv Club hosted the Brock University Improv Summit this past Saturday to a packed house in 15 Artists Common, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Their competitive team went up against teams from McMaster, University of Ottawa, Waterloo, McGill, Carleton, and Toronto.

The evening was full of whimsy and fun, and competitive spirit from all of the teams involved. Each team displayed a mastery of improvisation and comedy showing off their props as creative thinkers, team players and actors. The scenes varied dramatically from a space station to Winnebago.

In the end, it came down to the University of Toronto and uOttawa with Toronto eventually coming out on top.

“It’s been rather interesting to see how Improv has evolved this year, it never really stays stagnant … it’s always interesting to see how everyone’s style evolves and how cohesive the group is. And we’ve gotten a decent number of new participants this year and a good number or people who showed up last year showing up again. And there hasn’t really been a faltering attendance or anything like that, which is always great” says Brock Improv Competitive Team Coach, Paul Drotos.

“This year has been one of shifting. A lot of the execs from past years have moved on. All of the execs this year were a fresh crop, people who had never been in that position before, in fact, the competitive team as well, all but one of them are completely new” he continues.

Drotos says that “it’s always interesting to see the different styles that a team will bring each summit” and that “location is everything. The space we got here is different from last year’s space, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it’s going to change everyone’s outlook on improv and how they perform on the stage because you don’t perform improv the same way in two different spaces.” The lighting, sound, and seat set-up in the Marilyn I. Walker building worked superbly for the event.

The Summit is broken up into three rounds which all of the schools teams have to participate in. The first round is all classic games, like Sit, Stand, Lie, the second is open, where the teams can make anything up and the last has some more wonky restrictions.

For example Drotos adds, “last year, a team was given a baguette, and they had to finish the scene having the whole baguette eaten.”

The Brock Improv Club is not affiliated with the Dramatic Arts Program at Brock although they do help with logistics, such as finding a space to practice and hold the Summit. Drotos says that Improv is “for students by students.”

“Improv doesn’t have one single philosophy, and I really enjoy that” comments Drotos. “I’m a chronic overthinker, so Improv is kind of like a safe heaven for me because I don’t need to overthink about anything.”

Drotos says that improv can be for everyone. “Personally I gravitate towards improv because it helps me to become a better person. It helps not go against my personality while still strengthening. … And someone else can have a totally different outlook on improv, and that’s totally fine because that’s improv. So that also helps to make it a safe and accepting space.”

The next Improv Summit will be held at McMaster on March 4. Improv meets up twice a week and welcomes guests to watch and participate and is always looking for new members to join the general meetings on Mondays 8-10p.m. in TH 259 and Wednesdays 7-10p.m. in WH 324.

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