Incredible Improvisation


Nicole Poitras

A group of the improv students perform a game onstage.

Nicole Poitras, A&E Editor, Blogger

On the evening of December 3, the Hollis Brookline improv classes held their first public performance of the year in the HBHS auditorium. As the small audience hushed, the troop’s director and teacher Matt Barbosa walked onstage…wearing a cowboy hat.

Once the laughter had died down, he introduced the troop by encouraging the audience to be proud of the work they were about to see, for he was asking his students to do “something you wouldn’t think is hard: to be human in front of other people.”

That in itself is the beauty of improvisational acting, especially when it is taught in school. It takes a lot of skill, but more than that, it takes a huge amount of bravery.

“Improv is a tough thing to do because you’re asking someone to be very vulnerable onstage. There’s no script to hang back to, there’s no safety net, and so to be that vulnerable is something that initially is very difficult for a lot of people,” Barbosa said after the show.

However, as the class progresses the students become more comfortable and can have fun with their new skills.

“It definitely helps people break out of their shells. There have been a lot of kids who were quiet introverts and decided to take improv and were changed within the first couple of weeks,” said Lisa Bumpus ‘16.

While it may sound unusual for a performance, the main theme of the night was audience participation. Even before the troop came onstage, Barbosa had the audience write down phrases for the kids to say randomly throughout the night. Many people, including a couple of HB students, got in on the antics, whether they were controlling the performers’ actions, taking part in a guessing game, or slamming a pie in an actor’s face. Barbosa himself even got some time in the spotlight per the audience’s request!

Future improv shows will take place every other month, so there are still many opportunities to see this hilarious form of theatre in action.