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Freshman Bryce James Becomes a Club Favorite on Improv Team

Making It Up As He Goes

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Freshman Bryce James Becomes a Club Favorite on Improv Team

Credit to David Hernandez

Credit to David Hernandez

Credit to David Hernandez

By David Hernandez, Excalibur Reporter

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On Jan. 12, freshman Bryce James played a god and helped senior Riley Lawson fight off famine before turning into a pumpkin, all while in a meeting room in the Kansas City Convention Center. This is one of the scenes that the FHN Improv Team crafted to compete as part of the yearly Improv Intensive competition held by Missouri State Thespians as part of the Thespian Convention. This year James had the opportunity to make his mark and try this new and unpredictable style of performance.

“I met Bryce when he auditioned for You Can’t Take It With You,” Lawson said. “I thought he was a crazy little short guy who walked out on stage with a Russian accent.”

James has had experience in acting since sixth grade when he got a part in Monster Hotel at Barnwell Middle School. Then in the fall play You Can’t Take It With You, he got the role of Kholenkov, a wacky Russian ballet teacher that quickly became an audience favorite.

“I always liked watching movies, and when I was three-years-old I asked my mom if kids could be actors and she said ‘yeah,’” James said. “Since then I’ve always wanted to be part of plays.”

The Knight Pride Improv team consists of five unique improvisational games. Several teams of five, from different high schools in the state, play these games with judges experienced in improvisational acting rating their performance. These games can be head to head or one team at a time. The team with the highest scores gets first place.

“Improv is all about being able to adopt a whole bunch of different type of characters,” Lawson said. “Bryce likes doing characters, he doesn’t play plain characters or himself, he likes to play  a broad range of people whether that be crazy Russians or a strange harvest god from another planet and anything in between.”

The team received excellent scores this year and with seniors Riley Lawson, the captain of the team, and Gavin Atkinson leaving next year, they are hoping to find new talent and improve upon what they have already accomplished. The upcoming improv competition, Battle of the Howell’s, happening in March, will give the returning members some much needed practice and give non-drama affiliated students a chance to see the team in action.

“I really learned to like hanging out with my friends and performing improv scenes together through this,” said James. “What’s fun about it is the challenge of not having anything prepared, and once you get good at it you feel really good about the scenes you perform.”

 

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