Twenty-two ad-libbing high schools from across Alberta descended on Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre last week to compete at the regional portion of the Canadian Improv Games (CIG). The six-day tournament wrapped up on Feb. 15, with Lloydminster Comprehensive High School (LCHS) finishing the event tied for sixth place.
“Overall, I’m definitely thrilled with our performance,” said Simon Stang, coach of the LCHS Improv Club Entertainers (LICE).
Stang’s goal was to finish in the top five in order to qualify for the playoffs, and after their performance LICE sat in fifth place, with only five teams waiting to take the stage. The team that wins in the playoffs gets to travel to Ottawa to represent Alberta at the national championship.
Stang says they needed fewer than two teams to finish ahead of them to make the playoffs, but in the end they were bumped out of the top five by a team that finished only two points ahead of them.
“At first it was bittersweet knowing that we missed the top five by a couple points ... but then I thought about how far we came since last year,” Stang said. “We improved in every single one of our events by a quite a large margin. I thought we just performed better as a group and we definitely have a good sense of what we need to do moving forward to next year to get a little better technically.”
Stang said LICE set the bar high when they took to the stage for their performance on Friday night. They got to kick off the evening before a crowd of 250 people.
“The atmosphere on Friday night was electric, the house was packed,” he said. “Whenever you’re the first scene, you’re counted on to set the tone for the night. They came out, it wast was high energy, they did a great scene, and the judges and the organizers both said to me it that was due in part to such a great start and our team bringing such energy that the energy stayed up the entire night.”
Stang said the high energy and crowd support helped the five performing teams score well that evening. He said LICE’s best-scoring performance was their “Seussical,” a Dr. Seuss-themed rhyming scene with nonsense words and a moral at the end.
“The kids absolutely nailed it and the crowd went absolutely nuts,” he said. “It was probably the best crowd response of any scene throughout the entire night. We practice these day-in and day-out, but this one surpassed anything that we had ever done.”
Stang said the students had fun, and those who had competed at CIG in the past helped guide the newer members who had never performed in that environment before.
“For those who aren’t coming back next year, this was their last time to perform at the CIG and there were definitely some bittersweet emotions there as well,” he said.
Although the tournament is now over, LICE will be back at Rapid Fire Theatre on Feb. 19 for the exhibition “Nose Bowl” tournament, and in March the team will return once more for their monthly appearance at the Northern Alberta Improv League.
But before then, LICE can be seen performing on their home stage at the Black Box Theatre at LCHS on Feb. 25. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and can be purchased for $5 for adults and $2 for students.