Student “act-letes” to battle in first ComedySportz event

Alex Merkle-Raymond, Author

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Sophomores Andrea O'Riordan and Joey Kellison-Linn attempt to revive junior Paul Bleich in an improv game called "Countdown," as practice for the upcoming competition on Friday. O'Riordan and Kellison-Linn will be among the six troupe members competing. Photo by Hannah Nguyen.

Sophomores Andrea O’Riordan and Joey Kellison-Linn attempt to revive junior Paul Bleich in an improv game called “Countdown” as practice for the upcoming competition on Friday. O’Riordan and Kellison-Linn will be among the six troupe members competing. Photo by Hannah Nguyen.

A selection of six members of Palo Alto High School’s Improv Troupe will participate in the troupe’s first ComedySportz competition at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

According to San Jose ComedySportz, the ComedySportz event consists of two teams competing “for audience laughs and points while improvising scenes, games, operas and musicals based on [audience] suggestions.”

At Friday’s match, two teams, each consisting of three Paly students, will face off against one another. The “Blue Team” will be led by junior Sophie Swezey, while the troupe creator and Voice staff member senior Christopher Hinstorff will act as the captain of the “Red Team.” The match will be refereed by a professional representative from the ComedySportz organization.

The troupe attended two training workshops hosted by the ComedySportz organization in the fall and learned improvisation techniques that team members will utilize at the competition.

“This is our inaugural ComedySportz match,” sophomore and Red Team member Jason Pollak said. “This is the first time we’ve actually had a ComedySportz team, as opposed to just an improv troupe. This year, Improv [Troupe] is a new force on Paly campus and [in] the Paly Theatre community.”

Members of the Red Team- senior Christopher Hinstorff, junior Zoe Limbrick and sophomore Jason Pollack, practice an improv skit called "Fast forward and rewind." The skit involves the referee telling the actors to redo the line or skip ahead in the scene. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond.

Members of the Red Team- senior Christopher Hinstorff, junior Zoe Limbrick and sophomore Jason Pollack- practice an improv skit called “Fast forward and rewind.” The skit involves the referee telling the actors to redo the line or skip ahead in the scene. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond.

The troupe members hope they will be able to compete against students from other schools in the future, according to Pollak.

“Improv is very fun, and I believe we’ve actually improved a lot,” troupe member freshman Alexandra Dinu said. “I am certain it will make [audiences] smile or laugh.”

The competition will take place at the Haymarket Theater. Admission costs $5 for all audience members, and tickets will be sold on Friday at the door of the theater.

Correction – 8:35 p.m.  Jan. 22 2015 : The story has been updated to clarify the location of the event.