Ben Crain ’16

Where can you go in Tower Hill to take risks? 

On the weekend of October 25th through the 27th, the Drama department will start the year with “Comedy Combat.” Lacking any acting background, having not spoken publicly since my Bar Mitzvah, I plunged into auditions and immersed myself in a totally new experience. What in the world is Comedy Combat!?!

When I asked Darla Max, the new department head, her reasons for starting with a comedy “improv,” she provided me with a list.  In the first place, improvisational training is one of the best ways to train actors. Not only does it, she says, “hone general acting skills,” but it encourages the actors to be “courageous on stage,” to “take risks,” and to “listen to your fellow actors.” You learn not to “judge yourself.”  Secondly, Comedy Combat hasn’t happened at Tower Hill in five years.  Max says the department “prides itself on producing a wide variety of theatrical experiences.”

She believes the audience “will be amazed by what they see.”  Each show is different, for it’s a collaboration between the actors and their audience. The audience provides the themes of the games, “so the actors have no idea what will come out of their mouths.” Mary Carpenter, a 20-year veteran of Philadelphia’s longest running improv, Comedy Sportz, will perform the role of “referee” for all three performances.

Max says that some people think “improvisation doesn’t need to rehearse,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  The actors need to learn how to play the games: rhyme quickly, improvise a scene, trust the group, and “go with their gut.”  Some students are terrified with the possibility that their ideas might be ridiculed, but the group takes them to “a place no one could have predicted.”


Shows Times:

October 25th—Begins at 7:30pm

October 26th—Begins at 7:30pm

October 27th—Begins at 2:00pm


The show is appropriate for all ages.  Max says, “Tickets always go fast!”