Second City trains Eisenhower improv group
February 21, 2013 1:54PM
Tyler Kempf (red shirt), a trainer from Second City, leads Eisenhower High School students through an improvisational theater activity. | Supplied Photo
Updated: March 25, 2013 6:01AM
It was hard to tell who enjoyed the improv workshop more.
While students in the new Eisenhower theater group laughed through two hours of freeform exercises led by Second City trainer Tyler Kempf, drama coach Sarina Ranftl smiled like a parent who had guessed right on the perfect birthday present.
“It’s fun to see them take to this,” Ranftl said.
The sights and sounds from the stage gave away the students’ feelings about the workshop, which teacher Sara Carlson arranged.
“I kept smiling the whole time,” student Victoria Halewicz said. “I found all of the activities incredibly fun and enjoyed them equally.”
“It was fun because we got to be creative and be different types of things without copying other people,” senior Zinnia Lampkins said.
Carlson has friends who work for Second City, so getting the renowned comedic empire — incubator for talent such as Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, John Belushi and so many others — proved fairly easy.
“I brought Tyler in to teach the students improv techniques, because I wanted them to get off on the right foot,” Carlson said. “He can share additional techniques taught to many famous improvisers like Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Plus, it’s fun for the students to work with other teachers. Tyler has a wealth of knowledge, which I think the kids saw.”
If performing without a script creates any anxiety, the students didn’t say.
“I love acting and entertaining,” Lampkins said. “I thought being in improv would make my acting skills better especially because I am in speech.”
Kempf directed a variety of improv games and activities to give students some sense of performing without a script.
“The activity I enjoyed the most was the word association game,” student Andreas Jackson said. “It required us to think on our feet and remember our words from previous rounds.”
“I loved using my imagination,” Halewicz said. “I enjoy making up things as I go. I love seeing everything come together knowing that I owe my success to myself and not a prewritten script.”
Provided to the SouthtownStar