Flamborough teens help St. Mary earn bronze at Canadian Improv Games

News Apr 08, 2016 by Melanie Cummings, Special to the Review Flamborough Review

Four minutes. In 240 seconds time can crawl or zoom, depending on the situation.

In improv competitions, that time span often feels like both, said St. Mary Catholic Secondary School’s improv coach Katherine Newberry, whose team of teens earned a bronze medal recently in the regional finals of the Canadian National Improv Games.

The quick-thinking crew of eight students earned 936 points (out of a potential 1,000) in the Tri-City Improv Games held in Guelph last month, outwitting 22 other schools from Kitchener, Waterloo, Owen Sound, Niagara and several places in between. St. Mary is the only high school improv team in Hamilton-Wentworth.

“Improv is like running a sports team, more than like running a theatre group,” said Newberry. “In a game, even with all of the practices, you never know what’s going to happen in competition.”

And like any sport, it takes a lot of practice to do well.

According to St. Mary’s team member Sophia Cauduro, who lives in Waterdown, “improv is not a skill that you just have -- it’s a skill that needs to be developed over time to improve.”

And a co-operative mindset is a must, she adds.

“It’s one thing if an individual person is funny, it’s another thing when you have a full team of people who contribute ridiculous ideas to create one messed up masterpiece that we call a scene,” said Cauduro. 

In competition, each team performs four out of five events: style, life, theme, story and character, and receives storyline suggestions from the audience. Working through scenes such as a bad date at a shoe factory, embarrassing moments when milk shoots out of your nose and the line ‘build it and they will come’ conjured a bevy of imaginative ideas and laughter-filled reactions.

Dundas resident Simone Dorie, a three-year veteran of the school team, thrives on the art form’s unpredictability.

The will and skill it takes to get up on stage without a script memorized, stage direction or any hints about the topics in advance teaches you to think quickly on your feet.

This is another reason why teamwork is a must, said Dorie. There’s no room for stars, she adds.

“You have to put all of your trust in your teammates, to back you up no matter what happens.”

The St. Mary team has been working toward the regional competition since auditions began last October.

With 16 members in the group that meets weekly – half of which are chosen to compete – they have learned to “almost read each other’s minds when we perform,” said Dorie.

“If you›re not in tune with everyone around you, the scene essentially flops. The judges really took notice of our bond on stage and because we are able to work so well together, our scenes were actually hilarious!”

Flamborough teens help St. Mary earn bronze at Canadian Improv Games

News Apr 08, 2016 by Melanie Cummings, Special to the Review Flamborough Review

Four minutes. In 240 seconds time can crawl or zoom, depending on the situation.

In improv competitions, that time span often feels like both, said St. Mary Catholic Secondary School’s improv coach Katherine Newberry, whose team of teens earned a bronze medal recently in the regional finals of the Canadian National Improv Games.

The quick-thinking crew of eight students earned 936 points (out of a potential 1,000) in the Tri-City Improv Games held in Guelph last month, outwitting 22 other schools from Kitchener, Waterloo, Owen Sound, Niagara and several places in between. St. Mary is the only high school improv team in Hamilton-Wentworth.

“Improv is like running a sports team, more than like running a theatre group,” said Newberry. “In a game, even with all of the practices, you never know what’s going to happen in competition.”

And like any sport, it takes a lot of practice to do well.

According to St. Mary’s team member Sophia Cauduro, who lives in Waterdown, “improv is not a skill that you just have -- it’s a skill that needs to be developed over time to improve.”

And a co-operative mindset is a must, she adds.

“It’s one thing if an individual person is funny, it’s another thing when you have a full team of people who contribute ridiculous ideas to create one messed up masterpiece that we call a scene,” said Cauduro. 

In competition, each team performs four out of five events: style, life, theme, story and character, and receives storyline suggestions from the audience. Working through scenes such as a bad date at a shoe factory, embarrassing moments when milk shoots out of your nose and the line ‘build it and they will come’ conjured a bevy of imaginative ideas and laughter-filled reactions.

Dundas resident Simone Dorie, a three-year veteran of the school team, thrives on the art form’s unpredictability.

The will and skill it takes to get up on stage without a script memorized, stage direction or any hints about the topics in advance teaches you to think quickly on your feet.

This is another reason why teamwork is a must, said Dorie. There’s no room for stars, she adds.

“You have to put all of your trust in your teammates, to back you up no matter what happens.”

The St. Mary team has been working toward the regional competition since auditions began last October.

With 16 members in the group that meets weekly – half of which are chosen to compete – they have learned to “almost read each other’s minds when we perform,” said Dorie.

“If you›re not in tune with everyone around you, the scene essentially flops. The judges really took notice of our bond on stage and because we are able to work so well together, our scenes were actually hilarious!”

Flamborough teens help St. Mary earn bronze at Canadian Improv Games

News Apr 08, 2016 by Melanie Cummings, Special to the Review Flamborough Review

Four minutes. In 240 seconds time can crawl or zoom, depending on the situation.

In improv competitions, that time span often feels like both, said St. Mary Catholic Secondary School’s improv coach Katherine Newberry, whose team of teens earned a bronze medal recently in the regional finals of the Canadian National Improv Games.

The quick-thinking crew of eight students earned 936 points (out of a potential 1,000) in the Tri-City Improv Games held in Guelph last month, outwitting 22 other schools from Kitchener, Waterloo, Owen Sound, Niagara and several places in between. St. Mary is the only high school improv team in Hamilton-Wentworth.

“Improv is like running a sports team, more than like running a theatre group,” said Newberry. “In a game, even with all of the practices, you never know what’s going to happen in competition.”

And like any sport, it takes a lot of practice to do well.

According to St. Mary’s team member Sophia Cauduro, who lives in Waterdown, “improv is not a skill that you just have -- it’s a skill that needs to be developed over time to improve.”

And a co-operative mindset is a must, she adds.

“It’s one thing if an individual person is funny, it’s another thing when you have a full team of people who contribute ridiculous ideas to create one messed up masterpiece that we call a scene,” said Cauduro. 

In competition, each team performs four out of five events: style, life, theme, story and character, and receives storyline suggestions from the audience. Working through scenes such as a bad date at a shoe factory, embarrassing moments when milk shoots out of your nose and the line ‘build it and they will come’ conjured a bevy of imaginative ideas and laughter-filled reactions.

Dundas resident Simone Dorie, a three-year veteran of the school team, thrives on the art form’s unpredictability.

The will and skill it takes to get up on stage without a script memorized, stage direction or any hints about the topics in advance teaches you to think quickly on your feet.

This is another reason why teamwork is a must, said Dorie. There’s no room for stars, she adds.

“You have to put all of your trust in your teammates, to back you up no matter what happens.”

The St. Mary team has been working toward the regional competition since auditions began last October.

With 16 members in the group that meets weekly – half of which are chosen to compete – they have learned to “almost read each other’s minds when we perform,” said Dorie.

“If you›re not in tune with everyone around you, the scene essentially flops. The judges really took notice of our bond on stage and because we are able to work so well together, our scenes were actually hilarious!”