Members from all three teams performed one last game after the end of the competition. Jennifer Constant (left), Sachin Sinha, Johnny Lebeau, Julie Dunleavy, Lindsay Mckeen, Zachary Duval, TJ Dhir, Claire Edrington, and Challian Christ. Photo: Janoah Willsie.
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U of O improv team MI-6 host improv competition night

Three improv teams entered Avant-Garde bar on Feb. 28. One team left victorious, crowned as the winner of the evening. The other two left defeated, with only the faint memory of their moment in the spotlight to hold onto.

Although the University of Ottawa’s English competitive improv team MI-6’s event on Friday may not quite have been a deathmatch, it was a close battle with MI-6 winning only by a small margin in a vote by the audience.

MI-6 competed against two other improv teams composed of members of the U of O’s Room for Improvment improv club. Each round of competitions consisted of a number of improv games, ranging from 30-second to 7-minute scenes.

The first few tests of the evening featured Team Yellow and Team Red, and challenged the groups to impersonate an object, with Team Yellow impersonating a lamp and Team Red impersonating a tree, and to act out a period in history, where Team Yellow showed off their interpretation of Ancient Greece and Team Red depicted the free love era of the 1960s. The first round ended with Team Yellow as the overall winner.

The second half of the evening pitted Team Yellow against MI-6.

One of the first improv games they performed was called “Bad Rap”, where each competitor had to create a line of rap on the spot, rhyming with “tie”, without reusing a rhyming word or missing a beat. There were lines such as “3.14 apple pie” and “my favourite type of food is thai”. MI-6 defeated Team Yellow in this round.

However, MI-6 are not the only improvisers on campus. Each Thursday night, Room for Improvment holds meetings that anyone, from theatre and comedy lovers to complete beginners, can come to to play improv games.

The event, which was hosted by third-year U of O theatre and communications student Zachary Duval, gave two teams the chance to compete against MI-6 in an attempt to give members of the club who aren’t on the competitive team a chance to perform, with two of the players performing for the first time, according to Duval.

Although it was technically a competition, the event had a fun and upbeat vibe to it, and the winners had no physical prize, just a sense of pride to leave the bar with.

Sachin Sinha, a second-year Telfer student and member of MI-6, says that he believes improv is unique because “in improv if only one person succeeds, then no one succeeds,” showing that all of the performers supported each other, no matter which team they were on.

“Improv is doing what you should be doing in life and putting it on stage, supporting the people that you’re with, doing things for the good of your group and not just for yourself,”  says Sinha.

Other members of MI-6 also spoke highly of improv, with Challian Christ, a second-year philosophy student at the U of O, calling it “an extended trust exercise.”

“Everybody should at least try improv cause everyone can do it,” said Claire Edrington, a fourth-year biochemistry student and MI-6 team member. “In improv, anything goes and your idea is good. It’s such a confidence booster.”

MI-6 will be performing next at Provject Ex March 11–12 at Carleton University. For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.


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