A retirement home, x-ray glasses, and a hypnotist... what do
they have in common? Nothing. But with a little creativity and
fast thinking, an unwritten script quickly comes together; this
Drew Carey's "Who's
Line Is It Anyway?"
Thanks to the media's recent popularization of improv with
tv shows like Drew Carey's "Who's
Line Is It Anyway?" on ABC, it's now an extra-curricular
activity at SSHS. Under the direction of Neil Grant (a former
Mount Allison SUSHI improvist himself), a group of about 20 students
form the school's improv team known as S.N.I.C.K.E.R. (St. Stephen
Neanderthal Improv Club Kan't Even Right).
The team first started last year with mostly grade 11 and
12 participants. This year however, all four grade levels are
actively involved. They have met daily during their noon hours
for the past few months.
They've held workshops every Monday-Thursday at which they
rehearsed different games and skits, constructively breaking
them down. They then performed these skits for the student body
Two of the more popular skits include "SuperHeroes",
where five improvists are spontaneously given super hero identities
while trying to solve an outrageous world crisis, and "Sentences
in Pockets", a great crowd pleaser that involves outlandish
sentences in the improvist's pocket which they read and incorporate
into their scene.
Other skits include: Foreign Film Dub, Specialist Interview,
Three-headed Opera Singer, Hands, Freeze, and more. All are a
The open improv performances aren't solely for the school's
benefit. They helped prepare the seven members of the St. Stephen
High team (Andrew Goulding, Keith Chaffey, Terry Richardson,
Drew Hayman, Lynn Mosher, Brandi Gullison, and Katrina Reid)
for the first-ever New Brunswick improv competition. "Scared
Scriptless" was held in Moncton from February 18-20, offering
the St. Stephen team a chance to compete against eight other
teams from across N.B.
The competition itself included the eight teams battling each
other for rankings during two Preliminary Rounds, the Semi-Finals,
and then followed by a televised broadcast of the finals at Late
Night At The Empress. The teams will be judged according to set
improv criteria. They must improvise four of the five possible
categories as chosen by the referees with suggestions from their
The five categories include: Life (the more serious of the
five categories emphasizing acting); Theme ( ie. 'vacations'
which must be demonstrated clearly throughout the scene); Style
(ie. improvising a scene in the form of a Harlequin Romance novel);
Character (definite portrayal of a specific character trait),
and Story (a scene with a complete story improvised from beginning
to end). All are performed in proper sequence during an allotted
The winner of the Scared Scriptless Competition will be eligible
to compete in the Nationals to be held in Ottawa later this April.
Break a leg SSHS and make them laugh, or rather, SNICKER.