• Summer 2010
  • The Arts

Imagination and Improvisation at Pemi

The following article comes from Dwight Dunston, counselor in Senior 3 and Bean Soup co-editor.

I believe that in all aspects of camp life, and life outside of camp as well, there may be situations when one needs to be able to think and react quickly. Thus, the importance of a fun occupation that I teach: comedy improvisation.

During the second week of camp, I had the opportunity to teach the comedy improv occupation with counselors Wesley Eifler and Jeremy Keys. In a class with about 14 boys ages 10-15, we played a number of different games that often required us to create our own worlds in which we would act out a scene, most of which ended up being a bit ridiculous but were still very entertaining. There was one game in particular which required all of the boys to work together to make a story simply from a title suggested by the group. When one of the counselors pointed to a camper, the camper began narrating the story and would continue to do so until the counselor pointed at someone else. The next boy would first have to finish off the word or sentence of the previous participant, and then add his own twist to the story. Needless to say, the stories didn’t always relate to the initial title, but the entertainment value was much higher than the care for attention to detail. Although each game had certain guidelines and rules, the main goal was not to see how well the kids could play the games– we simply wanted the boys to be as creative and innovative as possible even if it meant looking a bit silly.

Comedy improv forces an individual to use his imagination, to react in a timely manner, and to be comfortable with looking a bit silly. If the boys took nothing else away from the occupation, I hope they learned that improvising is a way to better the imagination. And I hope that they had a laugh doing the occupation, as well.

-Dwight Dunston