Improv Jelly providing comedy for everyone

The story starts with a bride walking down the aisle in slacks. As in a game of broken telephone, this wedding-themed narrative is pulled in unexpected directions by four story-telling improvisers (a Snickers melts in the pocket of the groom’s white pants, there’s impromptu dancing in the aisle), until it ends with a traditional kiss at the altar.

The story starts with a bride walking down the aisle in slacks.

As in a game of broken telephone, this wedding-themed narrative is pulled in unexpected directions by four story-telling improvisers (a Snickers melts in the pocket of the groom’s white pants, there’s impromptu dancing in the aisle), until it ends with a traditional kiss at the altar.

The scenario was spun by players from Improv Jelly at a recent performance at the Red Deer Public Library.

It illustrates what Nicole Leal likes best about improv: “I love that the stories come out of nowhere, they turn out to be so funny, and they make sense. It’s like, wow, we just nailed a story, out of the blue!”

Red Deer’s newest improvisation and sketch comedy group was founded in January by two former Bull Skit/Veal Skit players, Leal and her partner Paul Sutherland.

Leal said she loved learning about improv as a member of Veal Skit, Bull Skit’s junior group, but found she couldn’t commit to the intense practise schedule required for its monthly shows.

She and Sutherland decided to form Improv Jelly with the idea of only having two rehearsals a month. This would allow for a slower-paced introduction to improv for people wanting to test their wits on stage but without the time — or courage — to go pro with Bull Skit.

“We keep it pretty clean. We tell people they don’t need to go to explicit content,” said Leal. She believes Improv Jelly’s twice-a-year shows at Central Alberta Theatre’s Nickle Studio will therefore draw all-ages crowds.

Improv Jelly is so far appealing to participants from all walks of life, including a couple members of Calgary’s Improv Adventure Theatre, took part in the May show. People from their teens to their 60s have attended in the group’s two Saturdays-a-month practises. (They go from September to November in preparation for two back-to-back November shows, and January to May for two May shows).

“We try to do the shows on nights that don’t conflict with Bull Skit,” said Leal, who believes Red Deer is big enough for two improv groups with different aims.

Improv Jelly, which runs with eight to 12 members, is connected to Central Alberta Theatre, for which Leal is production manager. The Red Deer College Theatre Studies graduate is also director of Tree House Youth Theatre. She and Sutherland have been in plays by CAT and Prime Stock Theatre.

Leal said she’s thrilled to have a hand in so many local arts endeavours. “It’s been very fortunate to have these opportunities pop up.”

She believes Improv Jelly presents a fun way to flex mental and imaginative skills. It’s for those who once did improvisation and got out of it, said Leal, or those who have never done improv, but wish they had.

It’s particularly great for people who don’t get to be creative in their 9-5 jobs, she added. “I’d especially love to see more girls come out. I think girls add such a different element than guys, and they’re not seen enough in comedy.”

For more information about joining Improv Jelly, please call Leal at 403-597-8957, or email nicole.c.leal@gmail.com. The group’s shows will be listed on the Central Alberta Theatre website.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer area businesses recognized at Business of the Year Awards night

“It’s an honour just to be nominated.” The popular words echoed throughout… Continue reading

Child sex offender should get 12 years: Crown prosecutor

Stuart Peter Hunt has pleaded guilty to 10 child sexual exploitation and pornography charges

Legalizing cannabis cost estimate for Red Deer just under $400k

Although the province of Alberta has announced $11.2 million for cannabis legalization,… Continue reading

WATCH: Every square tells a story: Edmonton expert is exploring Red Deer’s quilting history

Community members can bring in family heirloom quilts for documentation

Red Deer-area dads going through divorce are invited to Man Up

Support group formed to focus on positive activities, networking

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

PHOTO: Say goodbye to City Hall Park flowers

A sure sign that winter is on its way is when City… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunch bags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown… Continue reading

Wickenheiser, Pegula reflect NHL’s trend toward diversity

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With a laugh, Kim Pegula’s competitive nature kicked in… Continue reading

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

DUBBO, Australia — The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were jokingly thanked… Continue reading

TV Review: A Roseanne Barr-less ‘The Conners’ is a triumph

NEW YORK — Can there be a “Roseanne” without Roseanne? The answer… Continue reading

Canadian manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent in August: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent to… Continue reading

Brian Mulroney joins board of directors of New York-based pot company

NEW YORK — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is joining the board… Continue reading

Canadians waking up to legalized cannabis: ‘My new dealer is the prime minister’

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Canadians across the country woke up to legalized… Continue reading

Most Read