The improv team helps members develop a variety of skills


When Senior Aaron Jachim entered the auditorium in the spring of 2018, he had absolutely no intention of trying out for the improv team. 

“I wasn’t even going to audition,” Aaron said. “I just wanted to come watch my friends who were auditioning. I was ready to see them be in their element, and then they all said ‘Aaron, why aren’t you up on stage?’ I said ‘I can’t do improv,’ and they said ‘that’s a lie, get up here.’ It was truly improv right then and there.”

From the moment he stepped on to the stage in 2018, he began to delve into the complex world of improv. According to him, it “kind of just happened,” which seems to be fitting for the overall nature of improv. Now, as he enters his second season, his leadership position as captain continues to allow him, and the rest of the team, to grow.

His passion for improv isn’t hard to see. Just listening to him speak about other members of the team, it becomes clear how hardworking and creative the students are. 

“Especially this year, [my favorite thing about the improv team] is the unity that it creates,” Aaron said. “We do this very vulnerable in front of each other: trying to be funny, trying new things, creating scenes that come from literally anywhere really brings us closer. All of the bonding that we do outside of [improv] creates this little family.”

Student Director Sarah Buchanan agrees, stating that the team has “the most amazing people ever” because of their hard work and talent. And, the fact that the improv team is student-run certainly helps with the “community” aspect. According to Sarah, the closeness within the improv team can be attributed to this very aspect. 

“I think [being student-run] makes everyone closer as a team because everyone is spending so much time together,” Sarah said. “We are always supporting each other and helping each other grow and improve. It just makes [improv] a closer, tight-knit environment.”

Sophomore Gavin O’Meara, a new addition to the improv team this year, feels the same way. 

“I think that it’s pretty cool that we run it ourselves,” Gavin said. “We can practice whenever we want, and we all factor into it. We can always change [the schedule] really quickly instead of if we had adults who were running [it]. They would normally set a time that you would have to be there, and there would be no exceptions and things like that.”

Although for the most part the students run the show themselves, they can’t do it all. Sometimes, Sarah says, it can be beneficial to have multiple perspectives. In fact, along with Ms. Demeester, former FHC grad Matt Elliott is yet another pair of fresh eyes. According to the team, he doesn’t come to each and every practice, but occasionally, he arrives to provide guidance and support. 

“I think [improv is] better when we have an outside source,” Sarah said, “because we are always with each other and seeing the same things. It’s funny to us, but it’s nice when Matt or Mrs. Demeester are there to say what they think is good and what we can improve on from their eyes. It’s good to have a fresh perspective.”

Improv proves to be more than just fun, though. As stated by cast members, the spontaneity and random nature of this certain type of acting allows students to have a different perspective on life. 

“When anyone does improv they have to unlock a part of their brain that is not used during the day.” Aaron said. “It’s this really random, bizarre part of our brain we don’t ever really get to explore, and that’s why it’s so fun; you get to come up with super random things that may be realistic or may be super unrealistic. In that sense, and in life, I think because we do such a vulnerable thing that pushes us out of our comfort zone, we don’t care anymore. I think it boosts confidence and makes you feel like nothing else matters; you don’t care what anyone else thinks.”

For Gavin, becoming a part of the team has allowed him to become more flexible in his daily life. 

“I think that [improv] has helped me not expect certain things to happen,” Gavin said. “I used to always think ‘well, this is going to happen and I can depend on that.’ But in improv you can expect something, but your partner in the scene will go the other way. You always have to be ready for something to change or something to not go quite as you thought it would. I feel like it’s helped me become more flexible and ready to adapt to new changes.” 

In their upcoming show on Sept. 28, the improv team will be putting these skills to the test. Although improv is impromptu, as the name would suggest, the team has been putting in many hours playing improv “games” at their practices. Aaron and Gavin insist that it will be a good time, and Sarah agrees.

“People can expect to be thoroughly entertained,” Sarah said. “The improv team is actually hilarious. They’re all so talented. Their acting skills are just so great, and people just enjoy it. [Everyone] should definitely come; it’s going to be a good time.”