“High Stakes” is a student-led improvisation group started by Taylor Lardas, Celina Frenn, and Tivoli Hudson. The three sophomores come from a comedy and sports background, were inspired to start a improv venture at Vanguard.
The auditions were a time to meet people and perform in various improvisation activities such as getting into groups and making up a story by each person saying a sentence, or acting like they were in a talk show, making up a character and answering questions from the audience. Lardas, Hudson and Frenn plan to audition people for the team each semester.
“We want to provide good quality entertainment that also really makes people laugh,” Frenn said.
Lardas and Frenn chose the name “High Stakes” because they want the people who are part of the team to work hard and deal with ‘high stakes’ while enjoying themselves and learning how to improvise. Lardas and Frenn want it to be a high-class improv team that keeps the “stakes” high.
By participating in the group, people will have the opportunity to perform in environments which require dealing with nerves and competition.
“Our main purpose is to teach people to grow together in teamwork, as well as improve their verbal skills, build friendships, and have a safe environment to work in along with having a good time,” Lardas said.
The team will be performing at open Cove days run by the theater department, and will also participate in events such as matches against other colleges like Biola. The leaders also want to plan events where different year groups or opposite sexes within the team compete against each other. They hope to make the team a part of Vanguard not only during their time here but after they graduate.
“Improv is a fantastic part of theater and is my personal favorite. There’s nothing like going on stage not knowing what you’re going to do or say. Improv allows one to be able to make people laugh and maybe even brighten up someones day. Doing improv teaches life lessons too, in that you make each other look good. It teaches you to say ‘yes’ and also to stay positive. I love it!” Hudson said.
If students are interested in improvisation activities and would like to be more involved, there is also an improv class held by Tannis Hanson, which is taught every other spring semester through the theater department.