Improv games showcase 'performance without a net'

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Feb 04, 2014 - 10:15 AM |
The fine art of improv will be showcased at the Canadian Improv Games regional finals Feb. 13-14. Supplied photo.

The fine art of improv will be showcased at the Canadian Improv Games regional finals Feb. 13-14. Supplied photo.

Quick wits and rapid action will be highlighted Feb. 13-14 when more than 100 Northern Ontario high school students gather in Sudbury for the Canadian Improv Games regional finals.

The finals involve students from 15 high schools – including 10 from the greater Sudbury area – and take place at Thorneloe University's Ernie Checkeris Theatre.

The winning team will go on to represent the region in the Canadian finals at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Improv games have been a comedy club standard for years, and most professional comedians have honed their skills in improv. The Canadian Improv Games (CIG) take that style of performance and add a competitive element.

“Improv is always intense, said Canadian Improv Games regional director Wijdan Malik. “It’s performance without a net. Having judges scrutinize you adds even more intensity to the experience. It’s thrilling to watch these young people rise to the challenge.”

Working in teams of eight, students perform several rounds of games. Some games are rapid fire, consisting of a series of tiny sketches created on the spot by the team members.

Others showcase the performers’ ability to craft and develop a single story that unfolds over the course of four minutes.

Judges award points on a range of criteria, including how well the performers work as a team and their willingness to take risks with the subject matter.

“It isn’t just about how funny a team is, lthough that’s usually an entertaining byproduct,” Malik said.

Preliminary rounds of the competition take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 and 14, and at 1 p.m. Feb. 15. The finals take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 15. Tickets range from $8 to $15, and are available at the door of the Thorneloe University Theatre.

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