The doors to the Tompkins blackbox open and the crowd files in, but behind the scenes of this Comedysportz match there is a twist. Captains senior Frank Rivera and junior Noelle Chesser must work extra hard to prepare their teams because they are now made up of rookies. These rookies are student athletes at Tompkins High School. Noelle Chesser looks over to her sister, senior Natalie Chesser, and they exchange a glance of excitement, Noelle Chesser knowing that she prepared her sister well.
“We had one practice before the match and they learned all the improv games we play during them. They practiced the games a couple times beforehand and practiced again in enrichment the day of the match. We had to teach them the basics of scenes and how to successfully play each game,” said Noelle Chesser.
Teaching student athletes the basics of improv seemed like a daunting task, but the actors prepared them well. Having had little to no experience in acting, the athletes were required to have two rehearsals to learn the ropes and get experience with improv.
“I did theatre through junior high and my freshman year of high school,” said Natalie Chesser.
Some athletes like Natalie Chesser, who is an officer on the Crimson Cavalettes had previous acting experience which drew her to participate in the match as well as assisted her in giving a good performance. These athletes made the match interesting and pleased the crowd with their impressive improv skills.
“I think it went really well.We sold out the audience and everyone really enjoyed it. The student athletes were actually pretty good. We all had a really fun time and there was never a dull moment,” said Rivera
The athletes proved themselves with their skills and pleased the crowd. The crowd at this match had more energy than usual and the addition of these new players brought a twist to the match. Not only did the audience have a blast, but the athlete performers did as well.
“I think the match was really entertaining and authentic. I loved being up there and entertaining a crowd. I was telling everyone I wish I joined it as a freshman,” said Natalie Chesser.
This match offered students who would not normally get the chance to do improv an opportunity to experience it and find new interests. The crossover of activities meant students could find new interests and broaden their horizons.