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2012 March 12

Dinosaur Prom Improv

Filed under: home school — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 00:20
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Dinosaur Prom logo by Hunter Wallraff.

My son had his first performance tonight with the Dinosaur Prom improv troupe.  This was only their second performance with an audience, but they managed a full house (about 64 people), mostly family and friends.  It was a free show—they plan to do a few more free performances before they start charging. Their next performance is 22 April 2012 at 6 p.m. at the Broadway Playhouse.

The group is a relatively new teen improv group run by West Performing Arts as a  weekly class for $75/month. The troupe has 9 teens in it, roughly ages 13 to 16, but with huge variation in height, which is sometimes used to comic effect.

New students start in the beginning improv class that meets just before Dinosaur Prom, and students are gradually advanced to the troupe as their improv skills and ability to interact improve.  A few of the newer troupe members (including my son) remain with the beginning class to make sure that there are enough students in the beginning class to do the improv games.

Dinosaur Prom is not the only teen improv troupe in town: Joya Winwood runs Water the Weeds which currently has 16 members.  Several members of that troupe were at the Dinosaur Prom show.

Water the Weeds had a show the day before, but my son and I were unable to go because we were at the county science fair all day.  I presume, however, that many of the Dinosaur Prom troupe were at the Water the Weeds show, as the instructors have asked them to see as many other improv troupes as they can.  The annual improv festival in Santa Cruz will be mainly at the Broadway Playhouse this spring, so they will have plenty of opportunities.  My son has already been to see the troupes Freefall, You Had To Be There, and Loose Cannon (twice). He’s also watched all the illegally uploaded episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway? on YouTube.

My son once performed in a Water the Weeds show, when they were a young kids troupe (he was in 4th grade) and Joya’s teen troupe was called Dracula’s Molars.  At that time he liked improv ok (and was pretty good for a 4th grader), but preferred scripted theater.  He still slightly prefers having a script and rehearsals, so that he can think about the performance ahead of time and not have to rely on spur-of-the-moment reactions for everything.

The improv troupe practices and going to improv shows count as part of my son’s theater class for home schooling.  It is nice to be able to treat important long-term projects like theater and science fair as curricular, rather than extracurricular, parts of his education.

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