Papers, projects & presenations—oh my!

Lexi Valenzuela

Members of the WTF (Whittier Tells Funnies) Improv Club create astounding scenes and performances without a script, relying on quick wit and spontaneity. WTF performs regularly, with their latest show held in Club 88 on Oct. 7. 


While there are no official rules to improv, there are a few guidelines to follow in order to create an effective scene. The most important rule is to never negate what your partner says. The best way to carry on a scene is to go with the conversation and respond with “Yes and” in order to keep the dialogue flowing. It is important to agree with your partner and add onto the conversation. If there is negation, the scene can’t progress and so ends.

“I like that it’s a collaborative effort; you are never going to be able to recreate a scene because it’s a particular moment with particular people,” improv member and coach junior Gunner Joachim said. “It requires a lot of trust, you have to be listening to your partner and hope they are listening to you. You’re constructing the scene together. If you only focus on yourself, it falls apart.” 

Members enjoy the on-your-toes aspect of improv, there is always an uncertianty as to where the scene can go. 

“You never know what someone’s gonna do and people always have something that surprises me, [especially] when you can’t see something coming,” Joachim said. 

Improv practices are a great way to boost confidence in ad-libbed speaking as well as feel more comfortable speaking in front of crowds. 

“I’ve been doing improv for three years [and] it has opened up a supportive environment,” first-year Lauren Estrada said.  “It’s also a good way to get energy back into my day. The actual meetings are later in the day, but the environment exudes positivity and creativity. When you do improv, it shows people have faith in you and your ideas; it shows your commitment to creating something unique and meaningful.”

Improv is also considered a background for several theories of acting such as the Stanislavski Method, in which actors consciously think of motives for emotion and behavior. Many actors who have been on Saturday Night Live, such as Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and Bill Murray, started with improv. 

“I used to do a lot of improv in Texas, and I missed it. It was always a fun activity that allowed for creativity to the highest degree,” junior Gerard Power said. “To many, improv is just acting where you make up stuff and try to be funny, but it’s not that simple. There is an art to it. It is simple to learn and impossible to master.” 

“It’s a very supportive and welcoming environment,” Joachim said. “Everyone is really good at building up people’s strengths. We try to lift people up and find ways to encourage ourselves.”

Members agree acting in improv is not easy, but with practice and time the spontaneity becomes second nature. “For one thing I’m more open to meeting new people, there are some friendly people on campus that are willing to hear my ideas out and who trust me as a performer. There are people whose energy you can give back to, it’s a really good feeling,” Estrada said. 

Practices are held every Tuesday and Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Diehl 118. You don’t need any previous experience and are more than welcome to come and watch. 

If you are nervous about performing or are unsure about improv, come check out the next show Dec. 9 at 7:00 p.m. in Club 88.