Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Improvisation: The Creative Spark

Instructor: Steve Vernon

This class is designed to help individuals tap into the creative elements of their personalities through the use of a series of exercises that are known as "games" (sounds harmless enough, doesn't it?). These games are Improvisational in nature (we will discuss the meaning of Improvisation). Although they are of a sort that they can be a means of performance, for the purposes of this class the games will serve as a means to develop creativity. We will discuss the different types of games and, whenever possible, try to apply the skills each game develops/requires to specific situations (your particular profession, interpersonal relationships, other classes, etc.).

The bulk of this class will be "hands-on", though there will be a good bit of discussion.

You may want to dress for movement and comfort. Women may want to avoid skirts (and the men too, for that matter).

Grades will be based on:

  • Class participation (both in games and in discussions)
  • Attendance
  • Assignments (there will be one per class, very rarely will they be written however)
  • A paper (6-8 pages, roughly mid-term)
  • Final Paper (a reflective paper, 8-10 pages, due at the end of the semester)

This class will focus on Improvisation, the spontaneous creation of material ranging from music to images to writing to spoken word. This will be one of those mythical "no-book" classes. The instructor has taught varying degrees of this form to children as young as five, to autistic teenagers, actors, lawyers, educators and adults from various walks of life. While it can be used purely for performance, the focus here will be creativity in any profession. Classes will consist of lectures and improvisation "games" that are designed to highlight spontaneity, character construction, public speaking and confidence building. The core of the class will be creativity in general, but the class will endeavor to channel each individual's creativity to their specific "field".

Last Update: October 4, 2006