Arts, Off Campus

Students impress in Improv Jones

By Sebastian Kim ’15

About 12 years ago, Middle School Drama Teacher Christa Crewdson founded Improv Jones, an adult improvisational comedy troupe in Providence, Rhode Island, where she was living at the time. When she first moved to Massachusetts in 2005 to teach at Boston Latin School, she decided to found a spinoff ensemble, Improv Jones Boston, which began performing regularly at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown.

Two years ago, Ms. Crewdson began to consider creating a similar group for local teens. Thus began Improv Jones Jr., which now consists almost entirely of BB&N freshmen and sophomores.

According to Ms. Crewdson, the troupe is designed to teach teens how to perform improv. Run by her and another Jones player, Steve Marotta, the Jr. Troupe includes BB&N students Judah Burstein ’14, Amanda Lifford ’15, Amanda Madigan ’15, David Mandile ’14, David Markey ’14, Molly Murphy ’15, Aaron Orbey ’14, Owen Page ’15, and Jillian Sun ’15. Although most of the twelve members attend BB&N, others come from
Boston Latin School, the Cambridge School of Weston, and Newton
North High School.

“When I held auditions for the troupe two years ago,” says Ms. Crewdson, “many of my BB&N students were interested and came out to audition. They were excellent, so many made it in, as well as those from outside the community.”

According to Jr. Player Molly, the troupe is “a fun way to get to know upperclassmen, try something different, and build self-confidence.”

Molly also says that her work with the troupe has allowed her to build a closer relationship with Ms. Crewdson, her former drama teacher. “It is nice to get to know her on a more personal level while getting involved with different types of drama,” Molly adds, echoing the sentiments of several other BB&N players.

Weekly rehearsals take place on Wednesdays at the Arlington Center for the Arts, where Improv Jones Jr. is in residence. According to David Markey, these rehearsals consist of several long form and short form games practiced in preparation for shows. Jones Jr. performs on the third Friday of every month at 8:00 p.m.

“Our shows usually start off with an intro based on current events in entertainment, most recently “The Hunger Games,” where Aaron Orbey played Effie Trinket and selected a member of the troupe to host the rest of the show,” David says. Each show also includes a mix of short form and long form games and scene work.

“The troupe has been a great experience that has improved my improv skills and been a lot of fun,” David adds.

Auditions for Jones Jr. will be held again next fall in order to account for a few departing members. Ms. Crewdson encourages anyone who is interested to refer to the Improv Jones website at https://www. improvjonesboston.com. The last show of the season took place on May 11.

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