IMPROVing Henderson

Henderson welcomes a new improv club

Kelsie Gansz, Contributing Reporter

     There’s no shortage of clubs on campus, but if you’re someone in between and searching for one to attend, you should check out Ethan Schmidt’s improv club. Schmidt, a freshman theatre major from St Louis, came to Henderson to start his own improv group. He leads the club solo and coaches attendees during scenes and always makes sure to help everyone improve. He is obviously passionate about improv and does what he can to share his passion with others. 

     The improv club meets at 7p.m. on Friday evenings in Arkansas Hall room 209. From there, Schmidt leads everyone in initial scenes, and even has a plan for what will be worked on each week. This past week the club worked with having a “walk on” actor, who sits on the sidelines and waits to see how they can improve a scene. Each attendee had a chance to be both in the scene initially, and as a walk on. Each scene has one word for a setting offered by the audience and the scene comes to life. 

     Every scene has a set structure. The actors volunteer and head up to the front of the room, and are then given a prompt from the audience. They play the scene until it has a natural stopping point, and Schmidt or the actors will call “and scene.” After each scene Schmidt leads a talkback of negative and positive points for each scene, making sure to emphasize positive. Each negative comes with a suggestion or two on how to improve, and then the next scene goes on. Each actor has the opportunity to perform as many times as they would like. 

     Schmidt’s passion throughout the meeting is obvious, and he encourages all attending members to relax and feel comfortable throughout the meeting. He stresses that it is a judgement free area, away from any negative thoughts or anxiety. Schmidt attributes his interest to a high school teacher who taught an improv class. “He had a passion that rubbed off on the whole class, even if they weren’t interested in theatre,” Schmidt said. After taking the improv class and working at an improv bar over the summer, Schmidt realized he wanted to share improv with others and help them feel comfortable in the space he felt comfortable in. “My goal was that even if people didn’t fall in love with improv I hoped that people would love having an environment that’s free from judgement,” Schmidt said. “We live in an environment that can be so judgmental and because of that it causes problems, so I wanted to create a place where people could be free from all that.”