This week was brilliant! We had Brian McManus and Sarah Kirin, two actors from Off Center which is part of Denver Center for Performing Arts, guest teach our class and play some improv games. Brian and Sarah led multiple games, each one crazier and sillier than the last.
I can’t even begin to explain what an amazing time we had. The improv games really reinforced the concepts of design thinking. Students had to think divergently , collaborate, let go of their “self-editor”, trust their instincts, disregard notions of right and wrong, experiment, listen closely to each other, reiterate, fail, take risks, play, and be spontaneous. Using the term “Yes, and…” was crucial to each game because it opened up possibility instead of closing it down. The word “no” held so much weight because it stopped the momentum of the games.
My co-director, Corinne Lengsfeld, and I were laughing nonstop. One of the most memorable moments was a game called Strangely Speaking. This was a game where students hosted a talk show called “Squirrels Today” (an audience suggestion) and in pairs, they had to follow certain rules. The first pair had to take turns speaking only one word at a time while asking an interview question, and the “expert” pair had to talk simultaneously when giving answers. This forced each pair to practice listening as well as negotiating leading and following. It was tricky, which resulted in endless laughter and the funniest sentences.