“Laughter is the Best Medicine.” Everyone knows that saying and now Liane Gregory-Sterritt — along with her new graduates of “Laugh & Learn 2” — are determined to prove it!
At the St. Marys Town Hall Theatre on March 5, 6 and 7, the graduation celebration shows entitled “I Wanna Laugh 2” will be providing some big-time laugh-medicine. This year is the second time around for the St. Marys Community Players’ (SMCP) winter-time improv instructional sessions, after a very successful launch last winter.
“It was a no-brainer that we should bring it back this year,” says Maggie Whitcroft, SMCP member and I Wanna Laugh 2 producer, “because last year was so successful for everyone involved!”
So, once again the call went out to anyone interested in signing up for the improv comedy course. And once again 12 brave souls signed up in December to learn the techniques (Yes! You can actually learn how to do this!) and to put their new skills to the test in front of a live audience this March.
When asked how her students are feeling about the upcoming shows, Gregory-Sterritt smiles and says: “It’s a delightfully exciting mixture of amazing pluckiness and utter terror!”
“Just imagine:” she continues, “These folks, from their mid-20s to mid-70s, are taking on one of the biggest challenges of their lives. If public speaking is a number-one fear, then just imagine getting up in front of an audience — with no script — and creating laughs on the spot.”
So, where do they find the courage? Where do they find the laughs?
The same place, according to Gregory-Sterritt. “It’s all in the teamwork. Pure and simple. Teamwork.” The I Wanna Laugh session leader’s techniques are more like coach-to-team than teacher-to-student.
“They all rely on each other. It’s a great thing that develops over the months of training.”
And who are these people that took on this challenge? Gregory-Sterritt lovingly calls them “rather normal” and also says she just realized something about them this year that one of her own students, Brian Moore, pointed out.
“Surprisingly, the folks who are drawn to this course aren’t the ones that are loaded with self-confidence about their comic abilities. They’re really just your average joes (and jills) — your next-door-neighbours — who are pretty nervous about taking the course but are ready to toss themselves into the unknown.”
It’s that giddy combination of nervousness, courage and camaraderie that creates the laughter in class every week.
“Oh, we have tons of laughs in class! If laughter is the best medicine, then we’ve already had our full dosage many times over!” declares Gregory-Sterritt.
Interested in getting some laugh-medicine during this cold winter? And cheering on your next-door-neighbours? Get on over to the Town Hall for your “shot in the arm.” The curtain rises on “I Wanna Laugh 2” at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7. Tickets are $5 for Thursday’s “preview” show and $10 Friday and Saturday. Tickets available at the door or online at www.stmaryscommunityplayers.ca.
There will be a licensed bar.
And now: the drum roll, please . . . This year’s graduating performers are: Rob Anderson, Kate Gregg, Joe Kerr, Andrew Middleton, Brian Moore, Fern Pridham, Pat Rolston, David Rothbauer, Romayne Smith-Fullerton, Joan Swiderski and Don Van Galen. Show Host and workshop leader is Liane Gregory-Sterritt.