That’s a Wrap: An Improvised Ending to a Semester of Firsts

Short film improv still.
Drama students (from left, Charli Bush, Isaiah Britto, Eve Dillingham, Caleb Christensen) used settings like their backyards and kitchens to play out scenes in character during their online course in improvisation.

Moving from the studio to the Zoom screen, first-year acting students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts use role-playing games and movies to hone their craft.

Im•pro•vise: A verb meaning to create and perform spontaneously and without preparation. From the basement mudroom-turned-virtual classroom at his home in Syracuse, Assistant Professor Ricky Pak jokes he knows that definition very well.

In fact, Pak and first-year students in his Introduction to Acting course learned and lived improvisation as they moved from their studio classroom on campus to a remote learning environment this spring following the COVID-19 outbreak. They wrapped up the semester with final projects developed through learning methods they may not have expected: improvisation-based movies and online role-playing games.

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