‘Needs Improvment’ entertains audience with comedy despite COVID-19 limitations

Jessie Lambert, Managing Editor

The cast of “Needs Improvment” brought smiles and laughter to their reduced audience while performing improv and comedy scenes on May 13 and 14. 

The cast began the show with a rehearsed comedy scene followed by Fine and Performing Arts teacher and director Maura Morrison drawing on the audience to come up with ideas for improv scenes. 

“It was really strange to have an audience that was separated from each other and from us and also just way smaller than usual,” junior cast member Sarah Boush said. “The whole point of improv is interacting with the audience, so it was just a whole different vibe than what we are used to.” 

Members of the cast state that although they had shortened rehearsal time, they still were able to see all of the characters and scenes come together, like any other year.

“The amount of time we actually had to work as a full group together was extremely short; I think it was only four or five weeks,” junior cast member Thomas Davis said. “Through that entire time, we had all the scenes come together which was really great.” 

Sarah Boush recalls that their rehearsed “Northborough Moms” scene was a favorite amongst the cast and the audience. Senior cast member David Gillingham played members of the “Northborough Moms” Facebook group

“I really love our improv, but my overall favorite was our ‘Northborough Moms’ scene, which we wrote beforehand,” Boush said. “I think it really appealed to our audience, which included both parents and students because it was something everyone could laugh at and relate to.” 

Other cast members’ favorite improv scenes included “Woosh” and “I object.” 

“Woosh” requires all of the cast, as members off-stage try to randomly come up with something relatively similar to what their cast members are saying on-stage. Once someone has thought of something, they must run onto the stage and say “Woosh!” and call out one of their cast members to improv with them.

“I always love ‘Woosh’ just because it is so fun to see what people do with it,” senior cast member Miranda Slingluff said. “That’s the one where we really have no idea what we are going to do either so it’s always really fast and chaotic but always a good time.” 

“I object” requires one person to act as a judge, while four or five other actors stand on stage and try to justify a certain rule. The actors must build off of each other and say, “I object!” whenever they want to state an opinion or action. 

“I like ‘I object’ just because it’s funny to see what people can do and react to what other people say, which is sort of like ‘Woosh’ when you build off another person,” sophomore cast member Daniel Boush said. “It’s like one-liners that are just really funny to come up with.” 

Davis expresses that seeing his friends and castmates build their character over time has been one of his favorite parts of improv.

“The most fun part for me would be just working on the scenes in general and seeing everyone build their own little character,” Davis said. “We went from just reading our lines off a phone to [senior cast member] John Dugan actually becoming Mr. Barry.” 

Slingluff is fortunate to have built friendships with her cast members and perform in Morrison’s last show as a director at Algonquin. 

“I would say my favorite part of improv is not even the rehearsal but the going to Friendly’s after and building a community with the team,” Slingluff said. “As a senior, just having this be the last show for me, my friends and Ms. Morrison has been a really awesome and wild way to go out.”