IMPROM, A Perfect End to Winter Term

Image Credit The Next Best Thing Improv

On Friday, March 11, 2022, SOU’s infamous improv troupe, The Next Best Thing, put on their annual end-of-term show. This show was appropriately titled “Improm” and along with a theme and decorations, there was a formal prom dress code to boot. This show was a perfect end of the term relaxer before finals and it brought many laughs to the audience. 

Students came dressed to the nines in formal dresses, suits, and even blazers paired with a corset. Everyone in the cast was also dressed in character as students at a high school prom. With the audience and the troupe members being dressed up, it made the prom theme even more notable and exciting.

There was food provided to fit the theme as well with sliders, giant meatballs, fruits and veggies with some cute tables to sit at before sitting down at the show. There was also a little area to take prom style photos so the whole event really had the high school dance feel. 

The show was a live performance that was also filmed on YouTube, which can be checked out here

The show opened with a blow of the whistle by Coach, aka Caleb Hefner, who acted like a high school coach turned dance chaperone as they took the audience’s attention. They explained the rules of the show and reminded the audience to remember the names of the actors so they could vote for Improm Royal at intermission. Coach was one of the most memorable people at the show and they always had the crowd cheering, “ Coach! Coach! Coach!” 

When asked about how the idea for Improm came about, Co-Captain of The Next Best Thing and Co-Editor of The Siskiyou, Emily Perry, noted that it was not the co-captains who came up with the idea, but the whole troupe itself. It started out as an idea pitched by TNBT member Nelly to have a show where both the members and audience would wear formal attire. People tossed in the idea of a prom theme and according to Emily, member Valentine stated “Guys, the name Improm is right there!” and it stuck! 

Emily and Bekah, the other co-captain, loved the idea even more because it meant they could give something to the students. Many remember how a lot of students missed out on getting a prom due to the pandemic, which meant this was more than just a show. Due to the mask mandate they could not hold an actual prom, but holding an Improm was The Next Best Thing!  

A few highlights that stuck out to me were:

The first skit, which was a detention skit. One member, Soren Smithrund, was sent outside as the audience chose why he was in detention and he had to guess. There were two other characters in the skit, a teacher named Boris and a detention monitor, and the audience chose that Soren was in detention because he flirted with Boris. Improv is all about how the audience affects the show and the actors have to improvise around what the audience says. The skit was originally intended to be good cop/bad cop, but because of the audience’s choice to have Soren be in love with Boris, it changed into good cop/scared and uncomfy cop. It was an enjoyable skit to watch to say the least as Soren figured out why he was in detention

The show was phenomenal and at intermission, the audience voted for who would be Improm Royal, and Blythe Lloyd won the prom court! They used that ceremony to transition into another skit called Prom Court. 

Prom Court was cool because the rest of the cast was sitting with the audience shouting questions at Blythe to help her figure out why she won prom court. It was an interactive skit and many enjoyed watching Blythe figure out that she won by baking!

One of the last skits performed was arguably the most fun as it incorporated many thoughts from the audience. Before the show, the audience was asked to write a phrase on a little sheet of paper that an actor had to say in a later skit, called Lines From a Hat or simply Lines. Audience members roared as their phrases were said, and it didn’t matter if the phrase didn’t have a thing to do with the actual sentence, it still had to work. 

Every improv show that The Next Best Thing puts on has an overarching theme. Emily mentioned some of the themes in the past such as “You Didn’t get a Valentine, so here’s The Next Best Thing” a Valentine’s Day show, and during the era of zoom they had “Zoomprov’” which was titled “In These Trying Times” which was a play on the phrase companies said a lot during the pandemic. Having a theme helps them build games and then audience participation is key to making an improv show great. 

There will be three more shows during Spring term so watch out for more exciting shows coming from The Next Best Thing improv troupe! Follow them on Instagram for updates here!

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