Last week I taught Improv Insanity at Pulaski Technical College's Arkansas Teen College--a two week enrichment program for 6th-12th graders. Between large group warm-ups and large group rehearsals for a few songs from *Wicked,* I taught five students. We learned the basic rules of improv such as being spontaneous, accepting offers, and assuming our partner's brilliance through improv games and scenarios. Improv has technique just like acting, and improv technique can be particularly difficult for middle school age students in particular. One of the cardinal rules of improv is never to say no in a scene. If your partner says you're riding a horse, you don't say: "This is not a horse. This is an elephant." You must accept whatever your partner sets forth. Middle school students often operate in the negative with each other in everyday life--self-deprecating jokes, "harmless" put-downs, etc. Most of my students were middle school students, so we worked A LOT on the never say no rule. By the end of the week, I felt all students had improved...even if improvement meant simply speaking in front of others. I am constantly reminded how good theatre is for kids' self-confidence. Teaching Improv Insanity reinforced that belief.
10/23/2012 06:05:58 pm
I liked your blog and went ahead and created a weebly blog too!
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About the Author: April Gentry-Sutterfield is a director, deviser, educator, and mom who uses theatre as a tool for social justice, education, and community engagement.