The Squirrel Association is Rochester's Newest Improv Troupe

January 04, 2019 05:58 PM

(ABC6 News) -- If your New Year’s resolution is to laugh more, a local improv troupe could help you stick to your goal.

The Squirrel Association is Rochester’s newest improvisation group. They banded together a year ago after many of its members met at a Mayo Clinic medical improv night.


"We started to see more of each other and just as a group we really clicked, and decided that since Rochester doesn't have an improv troupe, why don’t we start one?" said member Laurel Podulke-Smith.

However, that’s not the story according to Darin Podulke-Smith.

"We met at the clinic because we all share a spleen," he said. "One human spleen that was spliced into many pieces and installed in our body and we carry an app that allows us to program the spleen and have an intense communication between the people."

That communication helps them perform as a team. Along with performing, the group holds free improv workshops at the Rochester Public Library.

"When I found out the public library does sessions, I thought that maybe I could help out with some of my experience in designing lessons and classes to bring it to the general public," said member Verena Schrier.

The group believes that improv can teach people valuable lessons.

"It's really important to feel that it's all right to fail," said member Raymond Fester. "That's a very different notion that's maybe unknown to a lot of people."

Member Brian Lind added that this group is a safe place for people to try something new.

“When you have other people that are supportive around you giving you direction, it comes out in really fun and unexpected ways,” he said.

They hope their group inspires more interest in comedy, which looks promising, according to the youngest member of the troupe: Kesarin Mehta, who is just 15 years old.

"I definitely have some friends at school who have been to shows and have shown a lot of interest in it and want to possibly do it as well,” he said.

Darin added that more improv will only benefit the Rochester community. 

"More money changing hands, more jobs, just a general freedom of commerce,” he laughed.

The Squirrel Association’s next show will be Feb. 14 at Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria at 7 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door for $15, which will include a $10 meal voucher.

For more information head to the Squirrel Association’s website here:


Talia Milavetz

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