Improvisation in acting can be fun to watch and do, but the competition is serious at the high-school level.

On October 24 and 25, a Festival d’Improvisation was held at École secondaire Le Sommet in Hawkesbury.

The festival was part of a class project of grade 10 student Kyle Noble, who is part of the International Baccalaureate program at Le Sommet.  He chose to organize the festival as part of his personal project requirement for the course.

“I love theatre; it’s what I dream to do one day,” he said.

Noble wanted to bring people together and promote theatre and improvisation in French.

Improvisation teams are common in French-language high schools.  For the festival at Le Sommet, 10 teams participated from across eastern Ontario, and one even travelled all the way from Barrie.  Visitors from Le Sommet’s partner school in France also participated.

The improvisation competition areas better resembled a game show or sports event than theatre.  Miniature hockey rink-like boards were set up, and there was a referee with a whistle, dressed in a black and white striped shirt.  The students were all wearing jerseys with their school names and teams printed on them.

The teams were on opposite sides of the boards and they were assigned a theme or scene to act out completely without lines and made up as they go.  They were given four minutes to act out their theme or scene and then the referee blew the whistle.  Then, the audience voted, the referee counted the number of coloured cards held up in support of each team, and assigned points based on the tally.  The themes that were improvised on Thursday included scoring a goal in a soccer game and a change in temperature.

École secondaire Le Sommet grade 10 student Kyle Noble organized the Festival d’improvisation as a class project. Photo: James Morgan

The team from École secondaire catholique de Plantagenet admiring an improved soccer goal. Photo: James Morgan