Improvisation is different from other kinds of acting and forces actors to come up with ideas on the spot. With the added pressure of competition, a referee and the audience, this show is a combination of both acting and a sports match.
ComedySportz is the longest-running, game-based, short form improv comedy show held in the CSz Theater Chicago near Lakeview’s center point. The theater offers improvisation classes, entertainment, corporate training, and private events throughout the Chicagoland area and the world.
District Fine Arts Coordinator, Drama Teacher and ComedySportz coach Jeremy Morton originally had the idea to bring this unique experience to students. All of the drama teachers from the district collaborated to organize a high school league within District 214 at the beginning of this year.
Auditions for the team took place in October. 40 students auditioned and 29 remained-20 team members, 7 alternates, and 2 understudies. Throughout the course of the year, all members have gotten a chance to compete and play in competitions.
With the team picked, they went to Drama day, a districtwide field trip where the teams had a chance to participate in workshops with the actors of CSz. After that experience in November, the teams began facing off.
The Prospect ComedySportz team has performed with Buffalo Grove, Rolling Meadows, and most recently in a performance with all the schools last Thursday.
Competitions consist of various improvisation games, a referee, and the audience to give creative suggestions and determine the winner.
According to Morton, the competition changed when all the schools performed together. It became difficult to play as many games with the increased amount of players, so five students performed instead of the regular ten.
“Although it is improvisation, there are skills and tricks of the trade that you learn through practice.” Morton said. “One of the best ways to practice is by playing the games, but also by taking what you did in practice and manipulating it in live performance.”
Senior Emma Knott is no stranger to performing with her involvement in the choir group Magicals, Mixed Company, and the Musical 9 to 5 at Prospect. Although she’s been acting in shows since the first grade, ComedySportz was her first experience with improvisation.
“It was fun because we were just learning the games right then so no one was really perfect at it.” Knott said. “So it was really casual watching the schools perform.”