Laughter rang out throughout the theater as they watched Del Mar students perform improv to their show, “Whadja Call Me??”
The performance was hosted by Del Mar alumnus Nathan “Nate” Ray Clark, who worked with the students for a week in developing their improv skills. The students demonstrated their newly learned skills on Jan. 27 at the Sue Sellors Finley Theatre.
“I grew up in Corpus, raised in Portland, the arts to me is so important down here, and to be honest there are not many places to learn improv,” Clark said of why he decided to offer the class. “From what I can offer, with my experience, Del Mar has a special place in my heart, especially the theater program. I can enjoy this because improv to me has so many applications rather than just acting, but self-confidence as well. These improv games can bring people together.”
Clark is a graduate of Second City Hollywood, and was hired by the Second City Tour Co. He has made an appearance in many commercials and TV shows, such as “Modern Family,” “Criminal Minds: Evolution,” “NCIS: Hawai’i,” “2 Broke Girls” and “Glee.”
Ethan Sullivan, an art major, took Clark’s workshop and performed at the show.
“Improv is one of the hardest parts of learning as an actor,” Sullivan said. “It is a very great tool to have. It can help give you the ability to make better choices for your character. The 15 hours we worked with Nate was something I would absolutely do again, to sharpen my skills and to build a better bond with the people I’m working with. This is my second time working with Nate, and I am hoping to join Second City Hollywood in Chicago like he did.”
Unlike Sullivan, Eddie Alejandre signed up at Clark’s workshop as a first-time improv performer. “I have been in theater for six to seven years, learning improv gives me more of an experience with the character. It will add to my craft, and I know many professional actors that still do improv to keep them fresh,” Alejandre said. “At the beginning of the week, I did not have any self-confidence, but Nathan just told me to breathe and be in the moment. The knowledge he gave me allowed me to bloom.”
Discussing the students’ performance, Clark said: “I am very, very proud of them. It is not an easy thing to do, you are walking on a tightrope at this event. I’ve seen students who were soft-spoken and then they would do a 180 towards the end of the week, just having so much fun. I started to get choked up watching them on the stage. I encourage everyone to take improv. If our political leaders did improv, I’m pretty sure it would make the world a better place.”
Clark has been hosting improv workshops since 2009 at Del Mar.