This archived article was written by: Ashley Stilson
Come one, come all! The USU Eastern Improv Show dubbed Actors on the Spot has begun. With brilliant actors who can improvise lines at the drop of the hat, Actors on the Spot performs free of cost every Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Little Theater located in the SAC building.
Actors on the Spot have six actors: Braden Nelsen, Annie Zelasko, Ryan Pettingill, Sarah Munsse, Josh Bone and AJ Borba, with Josh Zelasko as the group’s stage technician. Though some of the actors confessed to being nervous while acting, they often channel it to focus harder on the scene.
“It’s free, it’s short and it’s hilarious!” Nelson commented. The talent to improvise is incredibly difficult. There are no scripts, no preparation, nothing to memorize. Improvising calls for actors to perform spontaneously without preparation. “You won’t regret coming to laugh for an hour,” said Annie Zelasko.
“It seems redundant to talk about the invention of improvisation. Improvisation is invention,” according to the online Encyclopedia of Chicago. However, improvisational acting wasn’t officially documented until 1955, when David Shepher and Paul Sills started the Compass Players. They were the first to use a variety of games on stage to interact with the audience and motivate creative thinking.
“I love playing the games,” Borba mentioned. The games played by Actors on the Spot can keep them confined to the stage or out into the audience and even to the hallway.
One of the games, World’s Worst, takes suggestions of categories from the audience. For example, if the audience shouts out “World’s Worst Superhero”, any of the actors are free to improvise a line and deliver. An actor might step forward and say “Hold on, Luthor, I forget my tight tights…again” or any other puns.
Another game played is Excuses, where a late worker has to explain to the boss why he was late for work. However, his excuse comes from a coworker behind the boss who is miming the excuse the audience made earlier.
“If you like to laugh, you’ll like this show,” Bone said. So calling out to all those who love TV’s hit series “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” come and see, Actors on the Spot.