Normally, students see Pastor Mary at chapel as she imparts wisdom for the day and Professor Holberg in the classroom teaching English. However, for the first time ever, the improv team is offering these two members of faculty the opportunity to be in a completely different environment: on stage as part of their show.
This is a show the team has been wanting to perform for a while now, according to Alex Brannen, a senior and improv co-captain. “This idea of incorporating faculty into the performance is something we’ve had since my freshman year,” he said.
Neither of these women are new to improv. Professor Holberg was involved in drama, the debate team and other impromptu events throughout school. She also holds the title of the All-Pacific Extemporaneous Champion of 1984.
Pastor Mary is the faculty sponsor for Calvin’s improv group as well as a member of the board of River City Improv in Grand Rapids. Originally, Pastor Mary got into improv for her own teaching and preaching; then her love for it progressed into using this technique in the classroom as a speech instructor. She believes it forces students to be flexible, more comfortable with delivery and not rely on their notes. “It helps people trust themselves to know that ‘you can do this’ if you have to,” she said.
Even though this is a new type of show, having the faculty as part of the team will not actually change much about it. Abigail Pratt, a second-year member of the team, described the nature of improv as getting caught off-guard while also knowing each other’s strengths and trusting they’ll react well. “We’ll do this with the faculty, we know how to put them in positions that we know will be good for them,” she said. “There’s still a strategy to it, and it will change a little bit, but still everyone’s being surprised.”
The free performance is Friday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. The location is yet to be determined.