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Chambersburg theater group bringing improv to the stage

Chambersburg theater group bringing improv to the stage

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — It’s all fun and games for Chambersburg’s new improvisational comedy troupe, The Improvibles.

Jon Meyer, executive director of The Capitol Theatre Center in downtown Chambersburg and organizer of The Improvibles, is still looking for funny men and women to round out the improvisational group.

“All you need is a good sense of humor,” Meyer said.

You can be shy in real life, but if you come alive on the stage, this group is for you, he said.

“People who think they’re funny, who can think quickly and are not afraid to push the envelope, sometimes,” Meyer said are the right people for improv.

The volunteer troupe rehearses at The Capitol Theatre on Mondays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. in preparation for its first show to be held in mid to late March. The exact date has not been announced yet.

Improv means you are in front of an audience, with some kind of directive of a scene, or characters or some sort of idea — and you make it all up, Meyer explained.

While improvisation can be anything improvised such as a musical or dramatic composition, Meyer said his troupe will be 99.9 percent comedy.

At Monday’s rehearsal, the first thing the group did was to stretch and limber up their physical muscles for the hour long rehearsal that sometimes included rolling on the floor and doing pratfalls.

The 6-person group has only been together for a few weeks, and Meyer said it’s critical that they form a bond to succeed in the quick-witted world of improv.

There’s never a script, said Meyer who suggested scenarios for the troupe to improvise.

You’re at a location, where are you? Meyer asked Sammy Haas and Kristen Fisher at Monday’s rehearsal.

“We’re in New York City,” said Fisher.

Be more specific, directed Meyer.

So, Haas and Fisher performed a comedic bit set at the Empire State Building.

The comedic duo arched forward as if they were peering over the side of the tall building, all the while being harassed by birds pelting them with their droppings.

Lucy Bert, left, engages in an improv scene with Sammy Haas, middle, and Kristen Fisher during a rehearsal at The Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg, Pa. (Photo by Roxann Miller)
 

At 17 years old, Sammy is the youngest member of the group.

Sammy got hooked on improv when he attended an improv camp at the Totem Pole Playhouse several years ago.

“I really like improv,” Sammy said with exuberance in his voice.

Fisher, who runs a foster care and adoption agency, and fellow Improvibles’ member Lucy Bert, fell into improv purely by accident when they attended a local comedy show and were picked to do improv.

The public needs improv, Fisher said.

“It’s something that lightens the mood, and we all need humor. People like comedy, because everyday life can bring you down,” she said.

Bert, a social worker with Franklin County Children and Youth Services, said she loves being a part of the troupe.

“I’ve always loved improv. I’m very quick witted, and I just kind of fell into it,” she said.

She admitted to having a few nerves at first.

“Now, we’ve gotten to know each other — we do a lot of training exercises to get comfortable with each other,” she said.

In addition to performing at the theater this March, Meyer said the improv troupe wants to do outreach.

The goal is to go to assisted-living facilities or schools and put on a 30-to 45-minute show to brighten their day, he said.

If you are at least 15 years old and would like to be part of The Improvibles, contact Jon Meyer at 717-263-0202, extension 203 or email Meyer at jmeyer@thecapitoltheatre.org

Top photo: Lucy Bert performs an improv scene as Jon Meyer, executive director at the Capitol Theatre Center, looks on at a recent rehearsal at The Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg, Pa. Meyer organized The Improvibles, a new improvisational comedy troupe that is expected to hit the stage in March. (Photo by Roxann Miller)

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