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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Students unleash their inner comedians with Squirrel!

“It’s not about the audience,” said junior and member of Squirrel! Improv Lee Sisson. “It’s about the rehearsal process. It’s about being together as a community.”

Former CCE student Sarah Dreier-Kasik ’13 launched Squirrel! Improv in the fall of 2013 as place for students, faculty, staff or random passersby to practice free-form comedy in a safe environment.

“I started the club just because there wasn’t a real outlet for improv on campus or, at least, a relaxed atmosphere where students can do improv without a theatre commitment,” said Dreier-Kasik. “It was really (hard) to balance school life as my classes got increasingly difficult, and I thought other students might appreciate having a comedy outlet, too.

“I was afraid that I was going to be stepping on people’s toes because, apparently, there were improv groups before, but none of them stayed. I’m grateful the club has continued for two years now.”

Since Dreier-Kasik graduated, sophomore Nellie Vinograd has been acting as president of the club.

The group gets together to play comedysportz, where the group acts out short skits operating on a simple premise, usually with a physical element.

“Improv is surprisingly physical,” said Sisson. “We call it comedysportz because we play all these games and have a referee, but we also throw ourselves out there. I’ve had to save teammates from falling during practice.

“You develop that level of trust with people because every day is a trust exercise in improv comedy.”

According to the group, practicing improv comedy, despite the occasional fall, has several real-life benefits.

“I think improv in general will help you think on your feet, even if what you come up with isn’t super intelligent,” said sophomore and club member Elizabeth Houde. “It helps you get better at communicating with people.”

The group decided not to focus on performances, not yet anyway.

“We’re just people that love doing improv comedy,” said Sisson. “I love being able to share what I do but, like in theater, it’s not about the audience.

“It’s about the rehearsal process. It’s about being together as a community.”

The group is looking for new members, although they have a couple of recommendations for anyone interested.

“I think a prospective member should just be open-minded,” said Sisson.

“This is not supposed to be a competition for biggest laughs or who gets to participate in the next game, it’s about being willing to try new things and get out of your comfort zone.”

No one should take it too seriously according to sophomore and group member Leah Whetten-Goldstein.

“We only have one theatre major in the group,” said Whetten-Goldstein. “It’s not very intense. It’s just a group of peers laughing together and a place where you can be loud and overdramatic.

“It’s great stress relief having a safe place to let your imagination go to work and be able to say the first thing that comes to your mind.”

If you are interested in joining contact Nellie Vinograd. Meetings happen every other Sunday at 5 p.m. in Founders West Gallery.

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