No lines to memorize or scenes to block. No costumes or makeup to help create dramatic personas. No sets to build and only a few basic props to gather. Working as an ensemble troupe since December, the thirteen brave young actors took a crash course in the techniques and traditions of improvisational theater. Guided by a veteran performer-director from ImprovBoston, Sharon Leckie, they honed the quick-thinking, teamwork and trust they would need to hold an audience’s attention for three 80-minute shows, each of which would explore a different theme drawn from a hat-full of audience prompts. The themes (family, fetishes and quirks and college) yielded characters, lines and situations that were as surprising to the cast as to the audience. Not knowing where the show was heading from one minute to the next kept actors and audience alike in suspense — and teetering on the edge of giddy hilarity and raw terror. Improv calls for a measure of fearlessness best acquired young, a point that could not have passed unremarked by the many admiring parents and teachers in the audience.
Yet, perhaps it should not have been a surprise that the cast appeared undaunted by the challenge; stressing innovation, creativity and collaboration, improvisational theater is a natural extension of the type of learning that takes place in Beaver’s classrooms every day.