I saw my first show at the National Comedy Theatre when I was fifteen. Before then my only understanding of improv came from an episode of “The Office”, where Michael Scott steamrolls every scene in his workshop, and the club at my high school that I was reluctant to join. I come from a family of athletes, so my exploration of anything without a court or a ball was limited. But after that show, I was inspired. I remember thinking, “I want to do what they do.” 

I immediately began attending improv club meetings and dragging my dad to NCT almost every weekend for the 7:30 shows. Unfortunately, we had missed the deadline for the summer comedy camp. The theatre didn’t have teen workshops back then, so I had to wait until next year. In March 2013, my mom signed me up. I counted how many months until the start date and hoped the world didn’t end before July.

Summer comedy camp taught a lot more than just how to properly play improv games. I was the oldest camper there, so I learned to adapt to different ages and comedy styles. The counselors helped us be better listeners and have a more confident stage presence. We also got, respectfully, forced out of our comfort zones. Those who liked doing crazy characters had to learn how to ground themselves and their scenes. Campers who often fell back into playing themselves on stage, like me, were challenged to use different voices and express their physicality more often. Every day I walked into a supportive, welcoming environment. I remember Steve Hohman always greeting us with a smile and giving us plenty of resounding laughs of encouragement. Even if we were struggling with a certain activity or game, I knew he’d still have something positive to say about what we did.  

Saying I went to improv camp over the summer may not have made me the coolest kid in school, but I was glad to say it nonetheless. NCT gave me plenty of fun memories to look back on during the struggles of teenage years. At that stage in life, when you’re feeling the most awkward, insecure and misunderstood, doing comedy can be a nice escape, and doing comedy with a team of people who are there to create something amazing together is even better. 

-Alex Deddeh
Mainstage Cast