Improv Acting Fun!

 Image collage of students in improv class Teacher and Students

Wayland has brought on Adjunct Professor Ricky Mendoza to teach students all about improv! Prof. Mendoza is a professional actor and English teacher at Trinity Christian High School as well as an adjunct for Wayland.

“I have done theater professionally. Film, television, stage, and improv theater,” Mendoza said. “I am an adjunct English Professor, but I’ve also helped out with Way-Con considerably and have done some board game testing with the Gamer’s Guild.”

In his class, students get to play improv games like “Zip, Zap, Zop” and “Zoom, Shwarts, Pathigliano”. They are just as silly and fun as they sound. For both games, the group stands in a circle and tests their improv fundamentals of “yes, and” by listening and responding to the person before them.

“Improv can really be done by anyone and doesn’t require much theatre experience if any,” Mendoza said. “The biggest rule of improv is Yes, and. You take what the other person says and build on it to grow a scene.”

Students laughed and shook off their initial reticence last Monday night as they struggled to keep straight faces while yelling silly words to one another. One of the attendees, Nathan McLinsky, had previous improv experience.

“I think the improv class is a lot of fun,” McLinsky said. “It pulled me out of my comfort zone and gave me the opportunity to learn more about improv.”

Once the students got more comfortable, Prof. Mendoza introduced different games like “Bus Stop” where students attempted to build upon emotions, and “Magic Garage” where students got to try their hands at silent acting. By the end of each class, self-consciousness takes a backseat to fun.

The Mendoza family plans to open a theater called LimeLite in the future. There, they will have a stage for shows, improv, and so much more. Prof. Mendoza wants to teach improv classes at that location once it opens, but he plans to continue teaching free improv classes at Wayland for the students as well.

“In the spring, I plan on creating an improv club/team on campus exclusively for Wayland students and staff,” Mendoza said. “In the summer, I plan on offering classes for high school.”

There will be improv classes on Monday nights at 6:30 in Gates Hall room 205 for the remainder of November.

For more information about his classes, contact Professor Mendoza at rickym396@yahoo.com.

                                                                          ####

Photos by Nathan McLinsky