Nutty new improv group Squirrel! brings laughter, creativity to student life

Guilford’s new improv group seeks to — Squirrel!

Sorry, let’s start again.

Guilford has a new improv group dubbed “Squirrel!” after both the well-known line from the movie “Up” and those pesky squirrels around campus. In “Squirrel!,” a mix of traditional students and CCE students crowd into Hendricks Hall to let their hair down, playing improv and drama games to sharpen their wit and think on the spot, an invaluable skill on a college campus.

“It’s really a stress reliever,” said senior April Rogers. “It’s fun … to know that if someone prompts you with a question … here, you can just say the first thing that comes to your mind. We all laugh. We all have a great time … (It’s) just a break from … the non-silly life, you could say.”

The club’s founder, senior and CCE SGA president Sarah Dreier-Kasik, agreed, but said she also found improv allows one to think more quickly.

“To me, this group is relaxation, but it’s also a focus,” said Dreier-Kasik. “Right after this meeting I had a study group, and I realized that … things were coming very quickly because having done the mental exercises with improv made school easier.”

Dave Dobson, both a professor of geology and a weekly improv performer at the Idiot Box in downtown Greensboro, concurred about the benefits of improv.

“If you ask my family, the impact is that I make a lot more stupid jokes,” Dobson said with a chuckle. “But I think, for (everyone), learning those skills helps you be a lot more spontaneous, and it actually helps in conversations, because you have to be a really good listener to do well at improv. You really have to listen to what other people are saying to understand what they’re meaning.”

This is not the only benefit this convivial group seeks to reap through improv. Dreier-Kasik added that improv is important because it is the essence of an interview; in fact, it was Alan Mueller’s J-term class, Improv for Interviews, that inspired Dreier-Kasik.

“The concept is that every interview you do is improv, because no one ever gives you the questions ahead of time for a job interview,” said Mueller, assistant dean of career and community learning. “We thought we would make something as mundane as practice interviewing more fun. Dave Dobson came in and taught the students the basics of improv comedy, and then the counselors from the career center came in and gave practice interviews.”

So if you like comedy, improv or just want to clean some cobwebs out of the ol’ noggin, then swing by one of Squirrel!’s meetings. Squirrel! meets almost every other Sunday from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. in the main room of Hendricks. Their third meeting is Oct. 6, and anyone is welcome to join this brand new improv group.

The improv could lead anywhere.

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