Students Say “Yes, And…” to Winter Improv


On a Thursday afternoon, while athletes overcrowded the gym, the acting classroom buzzed with electricity and laughter tucked away behind double doors in Scott Hall.

Myka Plunkett, an actor with a background in comedy, was leading practice for a team that gets together every day after school, just like any other team. Except instead of training for a game or meet, they’re building towards an improv comedy performance.

Winter Improv, offered right now only as a winter option, is instructed by Plunkett, who was brought in specifically for the program. The participants, Trix Willems, Mazin Hussein, and Ha Phan, practice the art of improvisational comedy. The actors do not have prepared lines, settings, or even characters. They must consistently adapt to the situation, and try to make something funny out of it.

The students participating in this new program have a solid support system to help them make each other — and the audience — laugh.

Plunkett grew up in Oklahoma and attended University of Central Oklahoma, where she studied musical theater. After moving to the area in 2012, she’s worked with numerous groups and preformed in dozens of local productions, including “Uncle Vayna,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” and “Macbeth.”

Mazin Hussein, a sophomore, loves the experience, especially having, “a comedian from outside” who comes to Williston only to teach them. Mazin called improv comedy his “passion.”

Trix Willems, a senior from Northampton, has acted in five shows at Williston. Tridx chose Winter Improv as his afternoon activity because it “allows [him] to “think in a really different way than my classes,” while still being, “relatively active.”

Not only is the experience allowing Trix to think outside the box, but he thrives in the team atmosphere.

“Honestly I think it’s really fun to be part of team for something like this,” said Trix. “We’re building off each other and trying to make something that’s interesting and fun. That’s kind of a fun exercise to have everyone be on the same team and doing their own thing simultaneously.”

The “nice group of people” in the program is one of the best parts of the experience,” Mazin said. The four participants are “very kind and supportive and all very different from each other,” yet they “still make it work.”

If anyone is looking for an afternoon activity, or wants to work with a professional comedian, winter improve would be happy to have you.

“There are only four people and we need more people, so…” Mazin laughed.

Trix understands how terrifying the idea of improv can be, but because of the community in Winter Improv, it’s “not as scary as you’d think it is.” The communal atmosphere, the shared laughs and groans from failed jokes, certainly eases the fear.

“It gets less scary when you actually know the people and when you’re all trying to do something good together,” Trix explained. “It’s nice to know that if you’re in a room and you’re trying lots of things, if one of them fails, one of them is going to be great, and that it’s okay that not everything is a roaring success.”