To start off the year, Palo Alto High School’s performing arts department has recently taken part in many competitive events, such as ComedySportz on Jan. 23 and Playfest 2015 on Jan. 31. The department is also currently working on outreach to middle school students and rehearsing for its spring musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
Paly’s improv troupe participated in its first ComedySportz event at Haymarket theater. This is the first year Paly has had a ComedySportz team and has hosted a ComedySportz event.
“I think it went really well for our first match,” junior Sophie Swezey said. “We were all pretty nervous about competing for the first time, but it ended up being really fun.”
Two teams of three from the troupe, the Red team and Blue team, competed against each other that evening. The Red team was lead by Swezey, and the Blue team was lead by senior Chris Hinstorff.
“The Blue team got to play a was hilarious because you’re doing a scene, and theres these slips of paper on the ground with lines written on them that the audience picked out earlier,” junior Zoe Limbrick said. “So you occasionally pick up a slip of paper and have to say whatever is on the paper and it is quite funny.”
Though the Blue team was in the lead for most of the night, in the end, Red team prevailed.
“Both teams did well,” Swezey said. “In a ComedySportz match it’s less about winning and more about putting on an entertaining show for the audience.”
The improv troupe looks to take competition a step further in the future and compete against other schools as well, instead of just competing against members of their own troupe.
Additionally, a group of seven students from Paly’s theater department also attended Northern California Play Festival 2015 at Westmont High School, also known as Playfest. The event is a state-wide competition where a group performs a scene and receive professional adjudication.
The co-directors of the group competing at Playfest are seniors Riley Cassidy and Lizzy McCole. The group performed a short play called “The Drowsy Chaperone”, written by Cara Kienitz who also performed in the scene.
“It was really fun to spend the day with other high school theatre students and see their work,” Cassidy said. “We really weren’t sure what to expect because we had never gone before and it was in a theater we has never performed in for, so that was really interesting.”
Although the team experienced technical difficulties with lighting cues during their performance, overall it received positive feedback from judges.
“It was a really great bonding experience that brought the seven of us closer together,” Swezey said.
The improv troupe also took time the morning of Jan 23. to conduct outreach to Jordan Middle School students in their theater classes. Members of the troupe went to the classes to perform and discuss why theater, specifically improv, may be something middle schoolers might want to explore in their high school careers.
“We performed for and with Jordan’s Theatre 1A and Theatre 1B classes,” Hinstorff said. “Both Paly Improv Troupe and the Jordan students enjoyed it.”
Lastly, the theater program is in the rehearsal process for the upcoming spring musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
“We have such a limited time window to put the show together, but everyone in the cast and crew is super energetic and hard-working, so I know it’s going to be great,” senior Hannah Nguyen said. “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a really great comedy that all audiences will love.”
The show will have performances on March 6, 7, 13 and 14.