Monday night theatre sports commence

By Patricia dePalma

Every Monday night at 7, a group of student actors from all grades attends Theatre Sports, a form of improvisational theater where the participants are given certain restrictions, either physical or verbal, and they must perform a scene. 

Theatre Sports is taught freshman year, therefore, the majority of the students are comfortable working in the style of theatre. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, students do not have the chance to work with other grade levels, therefore these weekly sessions offer students the opportunity to collaborate and meet other student actors.

The Theatre Sports sessions started just before Thanksgiving last year. These meetings focus not on new teaching or new lessons, but on the time to play games and be together. 

Maura Vaughn, an acting teacher at Branson, began and hosts the Zoom meetings. Vaughn started these sessions for her students as she wanted to offer them more opportunities to practice and come together as a group. 

“It started because back in the fall, that need for the students just to be in a ‘room.’ They just missed interactions. Improv is all about working together and having fun and building something creative,” she said.

The sessions consist of numerous games such as “monologue play”: one person tells a story from their perspective and everyone else does a different perspective in the story. Another game included “state trooper”: players must accept verbal restrictions and try to tell a story. 

Usually, after every game, the students and Vaughn will come together to discuss how they did and offer feedback to one another. 

During the March 8 session, a freshman, Caitlin Capitolo, participated in “storm trooper,” where she was verbally restricted to telling a story. Capitolo said that this practice is one of her favorites “because it is very structured and the responses are always funny.”

The majority of the attendees are juniors because, as rising seniors, they must prepare for improvisational events, especially since there is less class time this year to practice. 

Emma Allen, a junior attendee and a Blazer cartoonist, often attends Theatre Sports and participates in the practices.

“It’s a great way to remind you of improvisational theatre and its roots. You need to remember your basics, the guiding principles of theatre, and it’s a way to reflect back and see how far we’ve come. It’s a really fun way to stretch your acting capabilities,” she said.