Crack up at The Cracked Act
Seymour High School theater program presents improv troupe
By Josephine Hinderman
At Seymour High School, students have come together to celebrate improv as the Cracked Act Improv Troupe, and for $10 people can attend nights of fun and improv acts that the audience can become one with the show by directly participating with acts this weekend.
As an art, the Seymour Theater defines improv as “a form of live theater in which the plot, characters and dialogue of a game, scene or story are made up in the moment,” and it’s something the troupe has been practicing through various acting activities, exercises and games.
Melanie Mursau, an assistant musical director in the Seymour school district, also emphasizes how improv allows students (and even audience members) opportunities to grow and develop confidence and teamwork skills.
“It’s the best thing because we’ve had students start off scared but then build confidence the longer they’re with the group, and it’s awesome to see that growth.” she said.
“For a play or a musical, you have direction and cues. In improv, you always have to follow someone else but you need to think on your feet… A big rule in improv is ‘always make sure the person up on stage with you looks good’… students learn to think on their feet, how to use their body, how to always say ‘yes’ and how to follow prompts – and have fun!” said Mursau.
When comparing improv to other theatrical art forms like plays or musicals, she added, “[Improv] is so much more engaging. We’re actually going to be having the audience [at the event] involved with the games, where they can provide the students with prompts to base their acts off of… The only thing that’s consistent about improv is students needing to be clever, you need quick thinking and your body.”
While improv is something that is fun for both students and audience members alike, there are also important life skills that stem from involvement in theater, which heavily aligns with the Seymour Theater’s mission of “providing a challenging, nurturing and safe environment” and “[encouraging] creatively-minded students who are interested in theater, music and fine arts to learn and grow their interests and skills.”
Said Mursau, “[The students] are not tired of it all yet, and they make me laugh at every practice! There’s been so much growth, and seeing the development in their confidences has been amazing. These kids are all amazing, and are all super great friends… You see, team building is important. It’s the most crucial component to improv – it’s trusting the person that you’re with. A show wouldn’t exist without those just-right people, and teamwork… There is also the skill of following directions and cues. Adaptability is another great skill for these kids to learn… [Theater] is a phenomenal way to learn life experiences, and to feel pride for what you do. You got to be innovative and creative. You got to have fun and let loose.”
And in the realm of theater, there is a place for everybody and every talent, Mursau emphasizes.
“Truly, give theater a try! There is a place for you in theater – you make connections and friendships, and there really is a strong sense of family. There are so many opportunities, and there is something for everybody. And that’s what I love about theater: we’ll have students struggle with acting but are proficient in singing, or they’ll be bad at acting but they’re good at dancing, and vice-versa, and everyone can find a home for themselves in theater. It makes them more comfortable, like they do have a home, and that has always been my goal ever since first joining theater.”
The Cracked Act Improv Troupe will be performing in the Seymour High School Auditorium on April 27 and 29 at 7:00 p.m. and April 30 at 1:00 p.m. for $10 a ticket, and Mursau encourages those who are looking for a memorable, spontaneous and unique theater experience to attend.
To learn more about the district’s theater program, upcoming performances and sponsorship and donation opportunities, visit their website at seymourtheater.com.