CLU improv troupe continues to bring a ‘sense of community’

Anna Norwalt, Reporter

California Lutheran University’s Improv Troupe club has kept a sense of normalcy amidst hard times, creating a strong sense of community for the group and those who watch.

This group is a part of an improv class held at Cal Lutheran which holds auditions to pick members of the Improv Troupe.

“It’s probably the highlight of my college career,” said senior and Co-President of the group Grace Phenicie. 

Phenicie has been a part of the Improv Troupe for three years now.

“I think it’s fun for us to just be a place where we can, I don’t know, be silly and you can see people your own age being silly. Your friends, you know?,” Phenicie said

But more than just a club, it’s an experience that changed their time in college.

“Like, it’s not over but like quarantine’s not easy for anyone and I feel so grateful that I’ve had this bunch of people that hopefully, I’ll continue knowing after we all graduate,” Phenicie said.

This group kept a sense of normalcy for the members and community amidst a world of constant change. In 2018, a week after the Borderline shooting occurred, the troupe was still there.

Riley Civerolo Douglas, the second co-president of the troupe said there was hesitancy behind continuing the show. 

“We all kind of sat there and were like ‘do we do the show?’,” Civerolo Douglas said. “We did the show and I think it was really meaningful to everybody, the troupe, and the audience, to go and laugh.”

This sense of community has continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sydney Steinberg joined the troupe as a band member fall of 2021 but has been watching and supporting her friends over zoom for longer.  Despite taking a gap year due to the pandemic, Steinberg still supported her friends by watching their shows over Zoom. 

“I’ve been going to their shows since I was a freshman,” Steinberg said. “So it’s really nice to get to be a part of it now.”

Since the beginning of spring semester, the group has been hosting outdoor shows every other Thursday at 10 p.m. at the Overton amphitheater.

“I think that we’re a fun place to be, hopefully, on a Thursday night,” Phenicie said.

Those attending the shows are encouraged to bring blankets and jackets to the night-time show which they will watch on the grass.

“But yeah, there’s always something about just running around in the grass. It’s like when you were a kid, you know?” Civerolo Douglas said.

Improv shows are hosted by Lisa Fredrickson, that consist of a variety of improvised games. Topics and suggestions are taken from the audience, and music is performed by the improv band. 

“I honestly think, you know, being outside as long as we’re bringing the same energy and love that we bring to the stage, I very much enjoy being outside,” Civerolo Douglas said. “Also there’s something about improv under the stars that feels romantic in the capital R sense of the term.”

After this semester, all but three band members and three improv artists will graduate.  Phenicie said something the seniors are looking forward to is the continued growth of the group.

“I’m so excited to see there’s so many people in class who have just blossomed over the time that I’ve known them and are so just so fun to watch, have so much life to give. So, I’m so excited to see who the other troupe members decide to be on the troupe with them,” Phenicie said.

The Improv Troupe plans to hold auditions this coming September.