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This is a post in our "Five Questions" series of interviews with Improv Conspiracy members. During the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival we'll be posting a new interview on every day that we have a show! You can find out more about our show "Our Friend Harold" and buy tickets by clicking here!
What was the first improv show you saw that made you think "wow, I'd like to do that!"?
I can't actually remember the first 'wow' improv show I saw, because I started doing drama when I was young, so by the time I was seeing shows I was already familiar with improvisation. However, when travelling through America, I saw shows by 'Improv Asylum', 'Second City' and 'IO Chicago'. Although I was already doing classes at the time, seeing these shows really inspired me and opened my eyes to the range of formats and the endless possibilities that come from imagination and creativity. It also made me jump at the chance to start doing Harolds, because it was more in line with some of the things I had seen overseas and I knew it would broaden my improv horizons!
What aspects of the Harold do you find the most rewarding? The most challenging?
I think the structure of a Harold is both rewarding and challenging, because it provides so much freedom to play within the scenes, yet the connection between lines of story can mess with your head.
When I first started doing Harolds, I would often stand on the sidelines and find my head completely blank, because I was concentrating so much on getting the structure right I was forgetting to pay attention to what was on stage.
Now that I've done a lot more, it's such a good feeling when you can create a great first beat from an opening, or you have an idea for another player's second beat, and the structure just becomes second nature.
What would you like your team to be capable of by the end of Comedy Festival? A year from now?
By the end of Comedy Festival I'd like us to have nailed the new openings we've been practicing and feel so comfortable doing them that we can start playing around within the structure.
A year from now ... I can't even imagine the magic we could create! By then we should know each other so well that we can really play to each others' strengths, but also create challenges for our team mates to build on our skills.
Which Conspiracy members do you have improv crushes on, and why? What do they do that inspires you?
All the ladies! There's not many of us, and I think we all bring something so unique to the Conspiracy family.
Rose - the way she's able to integrate popular culture and current references into her scenes, because audiences really identify with it
Kat - her delightful sense of play and ability to create wonderful characters
April - she has an amazing way with words, and knows what to say in every situation!
Grace - she possesses such a dynamic stage presence and brings so much joy into scenes
... and Kathleen, who has left us but was such a joy to work with and didn't complain too much when people picked her up
How has your improv training helped your non-improv life?
I've found improv to be very handy in life stuff like job interviews, because I can spontaneously talk about different topics that I know a little about (but not always a lot) and still sound coherent and somewhat intelligent.
More generally, it's a great tool for public speaking or handling new events as I feel more comfortable in unpredictable situations - because that's essentially what an improv scene is, unpredictable. And for a control freak like myself, this is something that's genuinely terrifying!
So thanks improv, for helping me be okay with just letting things happen.
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