Students looking for a chance to escape the added stress that comes with finals week need to look no further for free food, a raffle and plenty of laughs.
Improv at USF is offering a temporary sanctuary this weekend with The Showcase.
“A lot of people get confused when they hear about Improv because the first thing (they think of) isn’t ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ They think theater, or they think of sketch comedy like ‘Saturday Night Live,’ where they are improvised based but then they script it,” Hannah Prince, a communications and psychology major and member of Improv at USF said. “Everything we do, no matter what you see up here is made up on the spot, completely improvised.”
The group that was described by Prince and chemical engineering major Griffin Pelaia, a member of Improv at USF, as “being like ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ but better,” is putting on The Showcase to entertain their fellow students and attract potential members who may have never heard of improvisation before.
“Every semester we have a final performance to showcase everything we’ve learned but also played around with the entire semester,” Prince said. “It’s going to be about an hour of game play where we play a lot of improv short-form games. There’ll be audience participation where we will ask them to give us a suggestion or a phrase then we play games off that.”
Improv at USF performs nearly once a week, including a monthly performance at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. The group also performs regularly for other organizations at USF as well as off-campus locations.
“We always tell people that they can come, they can watch, and we encourage people to play because a lot of people are afraid to go up in front of others especially when you don’t have anything to go off of if you’re improvising,” Prince said. “They can just have fun really, and you don’t have to go to every single meeting. You can just show up whenever you can.”
The group currently has roughly 60 active members, and between 20 and 35 who attend meetings. Improv at USF meets three times a week, Mondays and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in CIS 3020. Pelaia added that they usually get more people to come to their Friday meetings.
“Since it’s coming closer to the end of the semester we have a bit fewer people because people are studying for exams and what not,” Prince said. “Usually at the beginning of the semester we have an influx of people. We’re still growing, and I’m excited for that.”
Improv at USF has only been around for about a year and is open to everyone. Prince said that everyone but the people you would expect to see are in the club.
“Our walks of life are completely different,” Pelaia said. “I’m a chemical engineer, most people are actually from communication.”
Just over a year ago, Pelaia helped create the group. With a little help by a communications instructor at USF who previously studied with The Second City —a well- known improv group — in both Los Angeles and Chicago, the group was able to learn in a lab setting and eventually had their own showcase.
During the following summer, the group realized they wanted other students to have the same opportunity they did in learning improvisation. Pelaia and his fellow founders decided they should create an organization based primarily on how they were taught.
“Hopefully over the next year, because most of us are juniors or seniors, we can create a very solid base so that we can pass it on to the next generation,” Pelaia said.
Doors will open for free food and merchandise sales at 7:45 p.m. The show will start at 8 p.m. The Showcase will be held in CIS 3020 from April 26-28. Students can visit Improv at USF’s Facebook page for more information.
“It’s free laughter,” Prince said.