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

Alberta has made a more detailed framework for those looking to acquire an exemption to the mandatory indoor mask bylaw. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Alberta changes requirements for mask exemptions

Masks wearing has been recommended for almost a year and provincially mandated… Continue reading

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP file photo (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)
RCMP investigating shooting near Maskwacis

Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin RCMP are seeking public assistance after a shooting has… Continue reading

Rode
Smith among impressive group of RDC soccer Queens recruits

There have been a number of cases where younger girls have developed… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools is projecting a $4-million budget deficit for 2021-22 school year. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools prepares $124-million budget

$1 million COVID recovery plan to assist students

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is shown in Calgary, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

FILE - In this Thursday, July 18, 2019 file photo, Ron Francis talks to reporters in Seattle after he was introduced as the first general manager for Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL hockey expansion team. Four years since George McPhee was a “puppet master” of the NHL leading up to the Vegas expansion draft, general managers approached this trade deadline with Seattle’s upcoming addition to the league in mind. While Kraken GM Ron Francis prepares – and maybe made a handshake deal or two already like McPhee did – Seattle was on his colleagues’ minds.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attends a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Simmering internal discontent in his United Conservative caucus has boiled over into an open challenge to his leadership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) celebrates in the outfield at the end of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

FILE - Jordan Spieth waits his turn to putt during the third round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio, in this Saturday, April 3, 2021, file photo. Spieth will try to complete the career Grand Slam next week at the PGA Championship. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas, File)
Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Most Read