Ready, Set, Improv!


Junior Emily Trachsel is playing the arms of Junior Ioana Marin and Sophomore Makayla Collins is playing the arms of Sophomore Ave Clyburn during their improv game of arms.

Galilea Sejas, Arts Editor

The Atomic Confusion improv team hosts their very first competition in the auditorium on Dec. 8th, with host, Junior Kyle Dalsimer. Dalsimer, along with junior Emily Trachsel and Loana Marin have been a part of the original improv team created last year. Dalsimer said, “The team is  fantastic, we have a great group of young performers who really want to get out there and have some fun.”

Every Friday they practice different improv games that they would see in the competitions, such as arms or free choice. Practicing these games forces them to think light on their feet and be able to adapt to anything that comes their way in any game that they would be playing.

Depending on the game, the people performing are given different options picked by the host. In the competitions, there are three judges who judge the performers based on their completion of the game, using their given variables, incorporation of every member on their team (where need be) as well as the timing, since each performance only lasted two minute.

The competition was able to bring 11 improv teams from different schools: Hayfield Secondary School, Herndon, Oakton, South County, Westfield, Woodson and Falls Church High School.

The first game that they played was Space Jump, where each group needs to incorporate 3 variables: a non-geographical location, an occupation and an object that sophomore Ave Clyburn, Makayla Collins, Junior Emily Trachsel, Ioana Marin and Sam Benton all participated.

After each performance, the three judges which consisted of improv technique judge, Elijah Sloan, acting judge, Josh McCreary and entertainment judge, Miriam Koch. Each judge grades them on a scale of 0-10 based on the criteria stated before.

The judges gave each team a score, but after each group finished their performance, the judges rated them using emojis: a laughing-out-loud, curious or awkward face.

Dalsimer said, “a poor score is anything 6 or below, 7 is average 8 is fairly good 9 is really good and 10 is outstanding. We score 10 most of the time, because we are a fantastic team, we would have a couple tens in a good competition,” but since each team wasn’t given a score out of 10 up front, they were more encouraged to do better in the next game, and were less stressed overall.

The next game that the Atomic Confusion improv team performed was with Clyburn with the arms of Collins and Marin with the arms of Trachsel, where they needed to incorporate a treadmill within the given time frame. Each team had the opportunity to incorporate their given variable in some fashion or form in order to create one coherent storyline, to give them the most points or in this case, the best emoji.

For the final scored game, each improver was able to create a scene of a first date with the game named “New Choice.” In this game, 3-6 players were given a first date location that varied from an amusement park to an abandoned warehouse. Benton, Marin and Trachsel were all able to play a first date scene in the humble location of a park.

This may seem easy for any other person, but the only downside to this game is that the host, in this case Dalsimer, would be able to ring a bell which would then require the improver speaking to change their previous statement before and thus their character’s tactics.

For example, if the first line said was “I care for you,” but the bell was rung, then the improver needed to find a new choice and could possible say, “I hate you,” showing the new choice that he/she has made. This makes the whole game much more complex, but also quite interesting.

Co-captain and Junior Ioana Marin said, “It opens up your mind to be creative, since it teaches you to accept other ideas and build upon them instead of blocking them.”

With practicing improv, it allows them the opportunity to be able to avoid their stubbornness and inflexibility and adapt their own story to the audience’s choices, since they’re all filled with love, they’re all filled with happiness and ready to do some improv!