Students sharpen drama skills at improv camp

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 12, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Kalynn Bailey acted out the roles of both a Southern belle with a pet monkey and a snowboarding Santa Claus in less than 30 minutes Wednesday.
The sudden switch in characters has been a common occurrence during the Piedmont Players comedy and improv camp being held this week.
“It’s super fun,” 8-year-old Kalynn said. “I think it’s kind of cool that you get to make up your very own scene from the top of your head.”
Abigail Lund, 12, said the week of wackiness has allowed her to “let loose.”
“You can actually clown around and not get into trouble,” she said.
Camp instructor Amber Adams said the camp combines slapstick humor similar to that of the Three Stooges and improvisational skills.
“None of the kids have ever had improv before so this is their first introduction to it and they are picking it up really fast,” she said.
Adams said the students have already learned about 15 improv games and will have at least 30 in their repertoire by the end of the week.
“All of the improv games are so different that they allow the children to learn a variety of skills,” she said.
Such skills include better communication, focus, clarity, eye contact, projection, articulation and diction, Adams said.
Adams said improv is an important skill to have whether children are interested in theater or not.
“We improv on a daily basis,” she said. “Going to a job interview is improv, talking to a stranger for the first time is improv because you don’t know what to expect.”
Adams, a senior theater education major from Salisbury who attends the University of Greensboro, has been an instructor for Piedmont Players summer camps for the past three years, but she said the improv camp has been the enjoyable.
“The other camps I’ve taught I’ve had to write, direct and perform a whole play in a week, but this is so open, the performance can really go any way,” she said. “Improv is just so much fun.”
Parents will get to join in the fun Friday during a performance. Adams said the children will be teaching them how to play their favorite improv games.
Korbynne Hill, 11, said this week has given her a chance to let her “funny side out” and taught her a little bit about herself.
“I figured out I have a way bigger imagination than I thought I did,” she said.
Adams said that’s a perk that comes with the skill.
“There are so many creative possibilities in improv,” she said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.