There’s only one group at this school that will act out an audience member’s dreams with unexpected twists, and it’s none other than PHS’s Just Wing It. This four-year-old student-run group, founded by Harrison Kaufman ’12, performs improvisational acting; the actors have no idea what they will be acting out until they get on stage. “[Just Wing It] actually started with me trying to start an another non-choir affiliated a capella group,” said Kaufman, who currently attends the Tisch School of the Arts. However, a close friend of his suggested the idea of an improv troupe instead, which received a lot more public support than Kaufman’s original idea, so he agreed that starting an improv club was the better option.
Just Wing It has weekly practices to familiarize the members with the different games the troupe performs. They play improvisational games that help the performers learn to be quick on their feet, develop their characters, and progress the plot. Returning member Nikhita Salgame ’16 described one game that the troupe plays, called “The Dream.” She said, “We call an audience member up who recounts their dream for us and we basically then reenact their dream humorously, as we one by one chronologically act like people that were in the [dream of the] person we interviewed.”
As inexperienced members join each year, Just Wing It faces challenges working with each new group. “It’s always tough in the beginning of the year to get everyone on board with the games that we play and [to teach the games] to everyone,” said Salgame.
The members believe, however, that by getting to know others in the club and becoming more familiar with one another, playing the games has become less of an issue. “As you start learning people’s humor, chemistry develops between the members. Then it’s easier than when you didn’t really know people and you didn’t really know how to react to [the members],” said Ella Quainton ’17, a first-year member.
Sofia Blackwelder ’16, another returning member of the troupe, said, “We are the only club that [Principal] Snyder has ever been the advisor for. Last year, during the whole PREA situation, we didn’t have an advisor, so he took on that role. Then we asked him this year if he wanted to be [the advisor] again and he agreed.”
Just Wing It will be in several shows this upcoming year such as their performances in the Arts Council building and PHS’s Black Box Theater this coming winter. Just Wing It also has an annual performance where the members perform with Quipfire!, an improv troupe from Princeton University. According to Snyder, “They’re a good group. They have fun and they work hard … They’re funny.”