Laser Squad Bravo (LSB), a student-run improvisation team on-campus. The group started over a decade ago and is currently going strong with a crew of 10 members, including four girls and six boys.
Tristan Varma, a senior film and television production major, has been a member of LSB’s improv team since his freshman year. He always finds the pre-performance nerve-wracking, but once he gets into the swing of the show he gets a full rush of adrenaline. He said he never draws a blank while onstage. “If you need to say something, then you’ll just say something off of intuition. You don’t have to consciously think through it,” he said.
Olivia Oreskovich, a senior theatre arts major and team member of LSB since her junior year, feels similarly.
“Improv is one of my favorite, favorite things,” she said. “The shows feel like they go by in 20 minutes because it’s just all so thrilling. I love performing.” Her comedic inspirations include Amy Poehler and Iliza Shlesinger.
According to Oreskovich, no part of the show is pre-planned except for the rules of the games. “Everything ... is completely improvised based on audience suggestion and in-the-moment thought,” she said.
Her favorite improvisation games are Pan Left and Alphabet Shakespeare. Pan Left involves a square in which each corner has a designated set of circumstances that players must quickly rotate through. “It takes a lot of listening,” Oreskovich said. “It’s a high-energy one.” Alphabet Shakespeare requires that the actors speak in a Shakespearean style, but with a twist: each of their sentences must begin with consecutive letters of the alphabet.
Varma’s favorite game is called New Choice, in which other team members can make the actor re-do their previous actions — including sentences, types of laughs, character developments and more. “You have to do a new version of whatever you just did,” Varma explained.
Oreskovich agreed that New Choice is a hilarious game. “That one is so pure [and] in-the-moment that it makes everyone laugh,” she said.
One of Varma’s favorite LSB jokes came from a game called 185: “185 underage Jesuses walk into a bar. The bartender says ‘Sorry, we don’t serve your kind here.’ Jesus says, ‘That’s okay, I’ll have a glass of water.’”
The actors practice as a group two hours a week and spend their weekends with each other making taquitos and playing WarioWare, according to Oreskovich. The group is tight-knit offstage, which helps to promote cohesion onstage. “Nothing’s really embarrassing because we all have each other’s backs,” she said. “It’s all about listening. I feel we like we have a really good ensemble feeling within our team … Someone’s always listening and there to support you when you do take a risk.”
She continued, saying, “It’s kind of your job to go up [on stage] and forget about societal norms and just jump into this world of acceptance.”
LSB performs on select Thursdays. Their next show is titled “Lumpkins, Spumpkins, Bumpkins,” a play on their team name LSB. It will be on Oct. 24 at 10 p.m. in the Living Room.
For more information regarding auditions to join the team, and the schedule for upcoming shows, students can vist LSB’s Instagram, @lmulsb.