Risky Business: HSU Improv Team Performs Full-Length Improvised Plays

Humboldt State's newest improvisation team, Unscripted Sutras, invite fans of theatre and comedy to An Unscripted Evening to see what happens when the playwright is tossed aside and a full-length play is made up on the spot, complete with improvised musical accompaniment and on-the-fly lighting. The Humboldt County debut of this new style of theatre starts at 8 p.m. on Friday April 13 and Saturday April 14 in the Studio Theatre at HSU, Theatre Arts Bldg. Room 115.  Admission is "pay-what-you-want" with all proceeds going toward the group for future improvised productions.

Each night, the eight person ensemble that comprises the Unscripted Sutras takes the stage with nothing but each others' backs and commits to creating an uninterrupted piece of fully improvised theatre that will enrapture the audience for an hour and a half. Nobody knows where this improvised play will go!


"There are always laughs," said Graeson Harris-Young, one of the group's leaders. "And there's also some human truth."

The improvisers themselves report being pulled along in that truth. Watching each other while practicing their craft, they have been drawn to the brink of tears as real drama unfolds and experienced rushes of triumph as it is resolved. The risk in this kind of theatre is hypnotizing and the spontaneity makes it feel more real than a traditional script. The improvisers bravely drive forward wherever the piece takes them, and the laughs are deeper as a result.

"They're real stories, just in theory, so we care about them," Harris-Young said.

The Unscripted Sutras are prepared for the risk. An Unscripted Evening is the culmination of a full year's work building their improvisational chops with twice weekly practice and smaller monthly shows. The players are chomping at the bit to share an unpredictable night with the community. They do not seem to mind that afterwards their work will fade into the ether to never be seen again.