Comedic skills for a serious role

My lede:

The game is attacker-defender. Each player spontaneously selects another person in the room to “kill” with a tag. The targeted player selects another person as a “defender,” trying at all times to use that person as a shield against the attacker. When they are killed, players die a loud, dramatic death.

The game — a warm-up exercise for six students learning improvisational skills — quickly elicits a cacophony of shouts and squeals reminiscent of playground days. But all noise and movement stops with an unexpected knock at the door, the way children go mum during a sleepover when Mom checks in to see how things are going.

“Umm, could you kind of keep the noise down a little bit?” says the young woman who knocked. “We’re taking an exam next door.”


The place — a medical school — is what makes this improv class unusual. Chicago, birthplace of the famed Second City improv comedy troupe that has served as the training ground for John Belushi, Bill Murray and many others, also is home to what appears be to the country’s only recurring improv class that also is part of a medical school curriculum.

Read the whole shebang. And here is a slide show of the class in action.