The Year’s First Zoomprov

Although the actors in the Yellow Submarine Improv Troupe may have seemed small on the screen, their jokes and personas were still larger than life! The troupe performed its first show this year, I’m Prov: A Self Reflective Improv Show, live on Zoom on November 6 at 3:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. Members of the troupe went on and off the screen as they cycled through a selection of interactive and entertaining games like “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” “Party Quirks” and “Panel of Experts.”

Audience interaction is an important part of any improv show. Although it seems impossible in a virtual setting, the Yellow Submarine Improv Troupe proved this wrong. The audience could use the chat for applause and reactions, and could suggest settings and character traits prior to games.

Audience member Katie Emery (I) remarks, “[I] wasn’t sure what to expect when [Boston Latin School] BLS Theatre said they’d be doing virtual improv, but it didn’t disappoint […] [The virtual platform] allowed for more creativity, with a lot of the improvisers using the Zoom setting to their advantage throughout the show.”

Performing live theater on a virtual platform poses some difficulties. “The most challenging thing about performing in this format is when people’s audios cut out or if their Wi-Fi glitches. In a show, you can’t really have people repeat themselves, or [else] it takes them out of character,” says Mia Merullo (I), one of the captains. One missed joke or line because of a connection or sound issue can put an entire scene on standby, but these skilled improvisers were able to work through these issues seamlessly.

Out of all types of theater, improv is the easiest to perform in a virtual setting. This is partially because it lacks certain aspects of technical theater such as the lights, set and sound. Improvisers are taught to come up with entire scenes, characters and dialogue on the spot. So no matter what situation they’re put in, they’ll be able to entertain.

Luckily, laughter was still part of this show. The audience could hear the laughter of off-screen performers throughout the entire show. Mr. Joseph Gels, the theater teacher and faculty advisor of the Yellow Submarine Improv Troupe, remembers that during the “first few improv shows […] back at the beginning of quarantine […] everyone [was] just muted when they weren’t on and it was awful” and emphasizes the importance of laughter. It sets the tone of the performance and encourages the actors.

The troupe’s obvious enjoyment at extemporizing makes their shows so entertaining. Mr. Gels and the performers miss hearing the laughs of audience members and building off that energy the most, so if you attend one of these shows, show your love in the chat!

Watch the recorded shows here:

3pm Improv Show

7pm Improv Show