The Ayer Shirley Regional High School Drama Club started something new last winter, stepping out on the proverbial ledge by offering an evening of improvisation and comedy. Thus started the Quick Wits, ASRHS' improv troupe. The project went over so well that the club is expanding on the program in hopes of making it an annual treat.
Last year's and this year's event will be hosted by the hilariously and artistically creative guru David Fisher (Acme Improv Company, ImprovBoston), with an assist from local improv aficionado (and ASRHS super mom) Faith Salter. The 2019 Quick Wits students includes troupe alumni Carolyn Cooper, Vanessa Delk, Liam Gleason, Nadia Nalesnik, Deran Quinty and Lexi Rock, as well as newcomers Alexis Blackwell, Alison Houde, Natalie Kalgren and Andy Sheldon.
Improvisation is creating or performing something spontaneously or making something from whatever is available. Improv in the arts is a spontaneous performance without specific or scripted preparation. "It's all about thinking quickly and acting on your instincts," says Drama Director JulieAnn Govang. "You have to have many talents to master improv - brains, confidence, creativity... and excellent comic timing. This is not your average night out to a school show. It's a chance to see actors in the moment, in sync and incredibly funny creating a show just from what's thrown at them."
The Wits will meet beforehand for two fun-filled workshops. There's no telling where the night's content will go, as audience suggestions will be solicited and acted upon.
David Fisher has been an improvisation performer, director, instructor, and artistic director for over 20 years. He originally worked 10 years with ImprovBoston in Cambridge as a performer with TheaterSports, Quest, Action Comic, Pirate Lives and Groaners & Boners, plus directing their shows Election! and TheaterSports. For 10 years he has directed and performed with the improv troupe he originated and created the Acme Improv Company in Maynard. He is also a long-time improv instructor, running workshops for ArtsNashoba, ASRHS, Maynard Public Library, Concord Adult Education, Quannapowitt Theater and Acme Theater.
The next installment takes place Jan. 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. in the Laura S. Leavitt Auditorium at the High School, 141 Washington Street, Ayer. Tickets are $10 general admission. For information, call 978-772-2545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.jacneed.com/ASYD/AyerShirleyDrama.htm.