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A Carbondale Community High School improv troupe will perform in its first off-campus show Thursday night.

Terriers Live!, an improvisational comedy troupe, will take the stage 7:30 p.m. Thursday at The Varsity Center’s Balcony Theater.

Ticket are $8 for adults, $6 for adults 55 and older, and $4 for students. Tickets are available only at the door. Doors open at 6:45. Beer, wine, cocktails, coffee, soda, water and snacks will be available for purchase.

The show consists of short-form, improvisational games similar to the ones used in the television show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, according to Erik Berrey, a CCHS teacher and one of the sponsors of the group.

“That’s one of the goals of the troupe, to keep it going, keep the energy up, to never let anything drag. So each game is between four and six minutes long, and then we’ll move on to the next game,” Berrey said.

The troupe, which is also sponsored by CCHS teachers Josh Taylor and Cara Polczynski, was first established several years ago and subsequently went on hiatus, Berrey said. A grant from the Garwin Family Foundation allowed the group to re-form last year and hold meetings on a weekly basis.

“It really does help the more you practice — the more finely honed your skills become, and the quicker you start to think,” Berrey said.

Berrey said improv is “an amazing confidence-builder” for kids.

“It helps with thinking on the spot,” Berrey said. “When you’re asked a question, you’re more quickly able to organize your thoughts and then confidently express them. I also think that one of the biggest skills that it teaches kids is that it teaches them that it’s OK to fail, that it’s OK to be wrong and put yourself out there, and that if it does happen, if the joke doesn’t go over with the crowd, move on and keep going, to not let those little bumps in the road really get to you as much, which I think is really kind of increasingly important with kids today — building up their confidence is important.”

Berrey said a monthly improv show at The Varsity is in the works. It could potentially serve as a fundraiser for improv workshops and scholarships to the Second City improv camp in Chicago, he said.

“This first show, maybe the first 10 or 15 minutes they might be a little tentative and a little scared, but I think once they get those first couple of laughs, they’re going to ease right into it and be just fine,” he said.


On Twitter: @janis_eschSI



Janis Esch is a reporter covering higher education.

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