Acting on Impulse

After a successful competitive season, the members of the improv team talk about their passion for theater


Jacoy Willis

Seniors Ryan Hollobon and Ty Leet participate in a scene of the game “Kick It.” According to the rules of the game, a few players act out a narrative scene as another team member looks on. At any time, the observing member can yell, “Kick it!” The participating players must then improvise a rap from the narrative content.

Cindy Kuang, Feature Editor

It’s amazingly chaotic. Out of the 12 members of the improv team known as Inglemoor Impulse, six are seated around a long conference table, doing their best to “remain professional” during the interview. Everyone is talking, and no one is really listening, but the familiarity between these teammates is unmistakable.

“Our chemistry is probably one of our team’s greatest strengths,” captain Zach Krieger, senior, said. “[The team is] like family to me, and improv is something we all love to do.”

Perhaps it’s this chemistry that gives Inglemoor Impulse its edge in competition, scoring them one victory after another during their fall season—not that they’re counting. After clinching their second consecutive Hogan Cup championship title, the players in this “theater sport” remain determined to have a good time while improving the quality of their performance.

“They’ve really been focused on having fun up there [on stage],” performing arts teacher Gretchen Stewart said, “and not on, ‘Oh, my god, people are looking at me.’”

Twice every week, the team meets in the Little Theater, where they spend many hours practicing how to improvise a scene. The team begins each practice with a few warm-up games. As Stewart says, “Freeze Tag” is a perpetual favorite. To start the game, a few of the players begin a scene while the rest of the team watches. At any point, one of these onlookers can “freeze” the scene and replace one of the participating players—then the scene is unfrozen and the game goes on.

“It’s just a way to get their minds going. With improv, you have to put the engine into neutral and just let it go,” Stewart said. “[The players’] ability to let their ideas flow without any fear is their greatest asset.”

In the past, when faced with the pressure of competition, the team has been able to rely on this asset in order to perform well. While competing in the Hogan Cup tournament, Inglemoor Impulse played in two matches against other improv teams: one home and one away. Junior Sophia Konat says that the players began each match the same way then begin each practice: with the usual warm-up.

“We get in a circle and do some [improv] games,” she said. “It’s what gets us pumped. When we warm up, we perform better.”

Inglemoor Impulse recently finished its competitive season with Womb Escape, an improv competition sponsored by Seattle improv company Unexpected Productions. Even though the team wasn’t able to win another title, the first-place trophy will still come to reside in the Inglemoor drama room.

“Even though our team didn’t win, an Inglemoor alumni team did,” Stewart said. “It’s really gratifying to see former students continue their passion in theater like this.”

Watching the dynamic amidst these students, who can be found in the drama room even during lunch, it’s easy to see why the appeal of improv hasn’t worn off for even those who have graduated. Naturally, the current team members are united most strongly by their shared passion for performing.

“Knowing that I have improv at the end of the day is what gets me through school,” Konat said. “I honestly don’t know what I would do without having this team with me. The truth is, we’re family.”