One of G.P. Vanier’s senior improv teams claimed the top spot in Vancouver Island improv and is preparing to head to Ottawa for nationals.
The gold vest clad team, named Invested, scored a first place finish at the Canadian Improv Games Vancouver Island regional finals held at Esquimalt High School on Feb. 15, something the team members had never achieved before.
Last year, the team finished second at the regional competition, but were able to advance to nationals by winning the online tournament.
“It’s kind of like the Olympics of improv,” said one of the team captains, Chili Leblanc-Wulff. Leblanc-Wulff, a grade 12 student at Vanier, has been doing improv for five years and is ecstatic with the win and to be headed once again to nationals in his final year of high school.
“I think this year I’ve been trying to really just enjoy myself on stage and have fun no matter what,” he said. “That’s been our team’s mantra this whole time and what’s given us so much success is to really enjoy ourselves and not stress over getting everything right.”
Teams play four out of a possible five events in scenes of up to four minutes in length. Each event is marked differently – for example, teams are judged on their ability to tell an original story, invent a character or respond to what others do or say.
Invested came out on top of the 10 teams competing with 730 points, ahead Gulf Island Secondary with 701 points and Ladysmith Secondary with 643 points. Isfeld Secondary and Highland Secondary tied for fourth with 606 points.
“It was incredible because the teams all played so well. Watching from the audience, it seemed much closer than the scores might seem to indicated,” said Lori Mazey, the team’s coach and a teacher at Vanier. “I was so incredibly proud of my team for playing with joy when they wanted so badly to earn that spot to the national tournament.”
Leblanc-Wulff says he has met some of his closest friends through improv and has learned to become more outgoing. After high school, he is planning to study business at UBC and feels that his years in improv have prepared him for his next steps.
“It’s not only quick thinking on your feet and being able to improvise, it’s being able to be outgoing, to be in front of people without fear of judgement,” he said.
The improv team will continue practicing in preparation for the national competition which will take place at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa from April 1-5.