Veteran Loose Mooser shares improv wisdom

Article content

 By Kevin Rushworth



For the Highwood High School improv team, performing on stage with veteran Loose Moose Theatre actor, Andrew Phung, was an opportunity to push past fears, but for the man himself, the show did something even better—it brought him back to his roots.

Before Phung and the improv students held their tournament at the school on April 13, he sat down with the High River Times to explain what improv meant to him and how he’s seen the students improve.

Phung, a senior performer and instructor at the theatre, said he wouldn’t know what to do without improv in his life.

“At some point, I just couldn’t imagine life without it,” he said. “I just love the feeling; I love the adrenaline I get from being on stage and working with kids.”

Now in his 13th year at the theatre, the man, who joined when he was 16, explained the freeing ability that improv possesses.

“When you first start, you’re scared and there’s this energy, this excitement,” he said. “Now when I go on, it’s the most freeing experience. It’s an opportunity for me to do whatever I feel.”

Phung first became involved in High River in the mid 2000s and then has been invited back to town to teach the improv team for the last two years.

“It makes me feel young to see that wide-eyed enthusiasm,” he said of the High River players. “I look at these kids and say, they’re so much better than I was.”

Whereas performers like Phung had to seek out improv, he said things are changing and improv comedy has been welcomed in schools and theatres.

Last year, at the Loose Moose Theatre company’s high school tournament, Phung remembered a dark horse High River team coming out of nowhere.

“When they hit the stage, I saw the smiles on their faces,” he said. “Though High River didn’t have all that improv experience, they were happy to be there, which made their work honest and real.”

Fear is a difficult aspect of life, but for improv players, it’s that fear that ultimately makes actors better at their craft, Phung said.

“A good improviser, one who sticks it through, gets up over and over again,” Phung said. “They learn why they fell down in the first place.”

Starting a lesson by saying this room is going to reek of failure is an interesting way to start a class, but for Phung, learning from cricket inducing gags is crucial.

“I see them improve every time I play with them,” he said. “Within two hours, I see them improve. By the end, they are getting it.”

He said he was honoured to be able to come into High River and help teach the students and that he has enjoyed every minute of sharing the spotlight with young talent.




Article content

Latest National Stories


Story continues below

News Near High River

This Week in Flyers