Spice up your week with some improv

Community club begins and lightens the mood at a stressful time

Danielle Hughson

After a long week of tests and essays and meetings, Washington and Lee students are looking for a way to relax, to de-stress and to get in a few laughs.

And when you are looking for this on a Sunday night, the place many say to go is the Lexington Improv Club, just down the street at a house named Munster on the corner of Nelson and Lee. Bennett Lewis ‘17, founder and “Grand Meister of Giggles,” said that the Lexington Improv Club is “literally the hardest I laugh all week.”

But the Lexington Improv Club is about much more than just laughs.

As Lewis said: “It’s just about making connections; you don’t try to be funny. There’s a lot of truth. Some connections are silly, and some connections are truthful. One person has even described it as meditative.”

The club is not actually affiliated with W&L, even though the vast majority of the participants are W&L students. Rather, Lewis decided to make the club more into a community outreach. Anyone from the area is welcome to join and participate, at whatever level they feel comfortable. He felt that by not specifically associating themselves with W&L, they provided an opportunity to not only cultivate community, but to also have the freedom to take it in whatever direction they chose.

Lewis himself did not even realize that he would be starting the club until the day before this year’s Activity Fair. He had wanted to remain involved in improvisation despite limited experience working in theatre. The night before the fair, he was chatting with a friend about it, who told him to make a sign at the Activity Fair and see what happened.

Since then, the group has blossomed.They have had up to fifteen people show up to a practice. The group was able to have their first show last Thursday night. Six performers (and an accompanying pianist) joked and sang and improvised for nearly an hour in front of an audience of around twenty people, including both W&L students and members of the general community.

John Juneau, ‘18, said that the night was “laugh out loud fun and a great success.”

But the dream does not stop there. This show was only phase one.

According to Lewis, “Phase Two is more consistent shows and more professional shows, and Phase Three is eventually becoming an actual community structure. Finally, we’re going to try to get the Guinness World Record for longest improv show.”

So if you happen to find yourself near Munster any Sunday night around 8 PM, Bennett Lewis and the rest of the Improv Club invite you to pop in and join them for a night all about “a unique art form because it requires nothing except showing up and just doing it.”