DUE to the calibre of Chloe Koehle's improv peers, not laughing during a performance is next to impossible.
"My teammates are so funny," says the Grade 12 Carson Graham Improv member. "When you're supposed to just be in the background, being like a chair or something, it's so hard not to corpse, but you've just got to really keep your head in the game."
The senior level team's ability to do just that and a knack for keeping audiences entertained was recently recognized with a berth at the Canadian Improv Games National Tournament, being held March 26-30 in Ottawa, Ont., based on their second-place showing at last month's Lower Mainland Canadian Improv Games regionals.
"It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is the first time Carson has reached this level of success in 10 years," says Cora Clark, the senior drama teacher at Carson Graham secondary.
Clark and team coach Jullian Kolstee, a Carson grad and avid improv performer, will be chaperoning the youths on their upcoming trip.
"We're so proud of our students," says Clark. What Koehle, 17, attributes to her team's success is their mutual respect for one another.
"We all just really love each other and love working together as a team so when we just focus on being together and living in the moment, we always do our best," she says.
Koehle joined the group in September 2012.
"I've always really liked drama and musical theatre so joining improv was kind of the next step in just getting more involved with theatre. I had a lot of friends who were on the team before and it's super fun so I decided to give it a shot," she says.
The 10 members meet twice a week, engaging in warm up games and they continuously run the events they compete in.
Involvement in the troupe yields more than just improv-specific expertise.
"Improv definitely isn't just confined to being on a stage or in a drama room," says Koehle. "It's taught me a lot of public speaking skills and confidence and just to always say yes, and to take up opportunities. It's totally more than just a drama activity."
Koehle hopes to continue doing improv in some capacity, recreationally, following graduation.
"I just really love the high of being onstage and I really love the people that are on the team as well," she says.
The members of Carson Graham Improv are busy preparing for nationals where they'll compete against the top improv teams from across the country, as well as participate in a host of workshops.
To help finance their journey, they've launched a fundraising campaign, having organized some lunchtime shows and a public evening performance held earlier this week. To support their Indiegogo campaign, visit facebook.com/carsongrahamimprov.