Students build artistic skills through improv comedy

By Matthew Cutillo, CORRESPONDENT
On February 11, 2018

Members Ben Anthony, Thiago Olabarrigo and Mark Zimmer await to join a group-based improv activity. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/NATE BLAKELY

Comedy proves itself time and time again to be an incredibly universal pastime, spanning across different cultures and generations. An organization carrying this torch is the USF Improv Club.

Coming from all walks of life, comedy can be a very satisfying and rewarding door for students once it is opened.

Jayce Bertucelli, a senior majoring in theatre design, is the active president of the club.

“One or two of our members did it in high school, but most of the members are communication and science majors,” Bertucelli said. “They don’t come from a theater background.”

Within minutes of a traditional meeting, the members gather around to begin warm-up games. As the students laugh and participate together, it becomes very evident more is at play than just simple comedy. Members are finding a release from stress through their work. Each laugh comes naturally and often warms up the room as the members become more and more comfortable performing with one another.

The improv games played during the meetings are always group-based, involving multiple students in each activity. Involvement is a key factor of the club. Each activity can hold anywhere from two to eleven students at a time, even going so far as to involve the crowd in order to insure everyone has the opportunity to take part.

The comedy performed can range anywhere from serious to light-hearted to dramatic and so forth. Enough scope can be created between genres in order to allow for every member to have their chance to shine and to allow new members their opportunity to find what type of comedy works best for them.

A sense of community seemed to be fostered, each member becoming aware of one another’s strengths and weaknesses as they come back every week to work on their craft.

“I’d say there’s about a 40 percent return, many come back which is very good.” Bertucelli said.

Even if interested student consider themselves to not have any knowledge of improv comedy, the leadership of the organization is very adamant about showing instead of telling the instructions to each activity.

“A couple of the people here are newer, they started coming this semester which we love,” Bertucelli said.

With a warm sense of welcome, older members are very sure to do their best to include newer members and to help them properly assimilate into new activities, showing them the ropes and the best ways to improve their craft and complete the activities in a meaningful and creatively productive way.

The members of the club find solace through comedy and the opportunities to hone their abilities among a group of like minded individuals. They often meet one another outside of the regularly scheduled club meetings, performing in showcases to further display their abilities.

Members often gather in improv workshops to learn new and valuable skills from older members.

As improv comedy continues to rise in popularity, the club provides a consistent outlet for students to display their skills.

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