Improv Invigorates With The People vs. Cameron Elwell


Yellow Submarine Improv Troupe says, “Yes, and…” (Source: Mary Bosch (II))

On January 28, students and faculty had the opportunity to view Boston Latin School’s improvisational theatre group, the Yellow Submarine Improv Troupe, at their winter show, The People vs. Cameron Elwell. This performance was directed by Cameron Elwell (I) and Ash Albert (II), who are seasoned members of the BLS theatre community. The troupe presented a performance that drew the audience in from start to finish with witty jokes and interactive experiences.

Differing from the Theatre Department’s usual productions of plays and musicals, the troupe performed a series of improvisational games with multiple scenes. Each scene presented comedic scenarios made up on the spot, which created an unconventional acting environment. The co-captains worked in tandem to pull together ideas for the program. Elwell says, “[They] have a lot of fun with it. […] We try to come up with ideas that are not only funny, but also clever and unique.”

The title of the show, The People vs. Cameron Elwell, stemmed from an opening skit about Elwell’s trial, where he was accused of stealing a train. The co-captains walked out on stage, and after introducing themselves, Albert accused Elwell of stealing a Green Line car and asked the audience whether Elwell deserved to live. He then “died,” and the show officially began. The opening skit of each show was different, creating a variety for each performance.

Although improvisors rotate and change games, the shows are structured similarly throughout the year. Elwell explains, “For many of the people in the audience, the people on stage are their friends.” This allows for a deeper performer-audience relationship. The sense of familiarity that the troupe provides is what makes their shows so interesting to watch.

One of the most enticing games was Interrupting Monologues, where improvisors were given monologues to perform, with specific themes chosen by the audience. The catch is that they interrupt each other, resulting in messy and enjoyable content. With themes ranging from trains to Fortnite, anything was fair game. 

Later on, a game consisted of improvisors giving advice to audience members. Each improvisor, however, had to connect each piece of advice to a central, wacky theme. Students received interesting advice on various topics, including how to fix a broken backpack and how to reunite their divorced parents. Sarah Huff (IV) comments, “It was funny, really funny.” Audience members from all grades enjoyed these improv games as each brought a new, engaging aspect.

All in all, the troupe did a phenomenal job of capturing the audience’s attention with their clever humor and games. They put forth an impressive amount of effort and never failed to gain laughs and applause from the audience. In the words of Carmine Laudato (III), the show was “fast-paced, interactive, banana.”