The last week of July, Triad Stage wrapped up its first year of summer camp with Creating Characters Onstage, led by teaching artist Stacie Alston. Stacie is a Raleigh native who has taught Theater Arts classes and camps for students throughout Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Throughout the week, students used movement, voice, improvisation, and imagination to create their very own assortment of characters.
Learning how to move, think, talk, and behave like someone other than yourself can be tricky, but our students were up to the challenge. Throughout the week, Stacie encouraged students to be imaginative and bold, especially when improvising as unfamiliar characters in imaginative situations. The beauty of improv is that anything can happen, and our students were eager to take bits of inspiration and create new and complex characters with unique thoughts, feelings, and backstory.
Students created object monologues, which really put their improvisation skills to the test. In this activity, students randomly selected inanimate objects, such as a plate, cell phone, television, a laptop computer, and make-up, then individually crafted monologues to deliver as their chosen object, endowing the objects with thoughts, feelings, and character traits through their writing. Students were also invited to ask their peers questions, which the performers answered while in character as their object. One student delivered a detailed monologue from the point of view of a plate, discussing her relationships with food, silverware, bowls, etc. Another student asked her to describe her feelings towards the dishwasher, to which she responded, “It’s like going to the spa! That’s my me-time.”
At the end of the week, students got to showcase some of their new skills for their families and friends. During the sharing, Stacie led the students in numerous activities and conducted a “talk show” where students were able to polish their object monologue skills and answer questions for the audience as their objects. The students answered these questions creatively, to lots of laughter and applause.
Although our summer camps have concluded for the year, we still offer workshop and field trip opportunities for students year-round! For more information, visit triadstage.org/learning or email Learning Director Lauren Smith at email@example.com.