(Photo courtesy Illustration by Marc Rosenthal) UMass Lowell has an Improv club.
Michael Van Arnam
For students looking to add a little laughter to their life, checking out the UMass Lowell improv club might be a good place to start.
The club hosts sessions every Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Dugan Hall in room 104. The size of the group usually ranges from about 10 to 20 people. The club participates in various improvisational exercises and activities testing the quick-wit and creativity of the members.
Kieran McFadden, the secretary of the improv club, made efforts to advertise the club this semester with help from other club staff members.
“When we started out this year, not many people knew about improv club. So, it’s been nice to kind of spread. We put posters up. We make Instagram posts now, which we weren’t doing before the start of this year. So, it’s kind of cool to see it go from like a few people to like now. It’s like, you know, we have almost too many people coming,” said McFadden. The growth of the club through new attendees is something McFadden likes to see. “My favorite part about the club is probably the people. We have new people coming in a lot, so it’s really nice to see new people kind of get out of their comfort zone and kind of, you know, act out.”
It is important to distinguish the difference between improvisational comedy and stand-up comedy according to McFadden. He says stand-up comedy is more prewritten and doesn’t really involve any physical acting. Improv, on the other hand, requires on-the-spot thinking and acting out scenes based on a topic.
During some sessions the group finds themselves leaning too close to stand-up performances, and they have to take a moment to recalibrate themselves and return to improvising, McFadden said.
McFadden feels students can use improv to improve their ability to think quickly. “It’s really good for thinking on your feet,” said McFadden. The activities require you to stay alert and be quick to a punchline. Being swift and sharp is a great applicable skill you can learn from the club.
McFadden hopes the improv club continues to expand and is welcoming to any interested students. “We are definitely always welcoming new members.”