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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 you saw that made you think "Wow, I'd like to do that!"?
It’s going back a bit but I believe it was an old video of Australian Theatre Sports our Drama teacher showed us when I was 13. I remember thinking that it must be scripted, as nobody could be that amazing and God-like by just coming up with stuff on the spot. I decided then and there that I would investigate how I too could become one of these superior beings.
What aspects of the Harold do you find the most rewarding? The most challenging?
I find it rewarding when strong character relationships are formed within a narrative that is interesting yet relatable to the audience. When this is created successfully the rest of the scene feels effortless like it’s writing itself and we can stop thinking about whether it’s entertaining or not and just really enjoy ourselves onstage.
I find it challenging to stick to the pattern and the game that is forming. My previous, pre-Harold improv training never emphasized this, so this is the area I’d like to work on improving.
What would you like your team to be capable of by the end of Comedy Festival? A year from now?
For the Comedy Festival I would like us to be capable of putting on very diverse shows where each story beat is completely different in its style. I would like us to be using a lot of contrasts in energy so that the audience is constantly on the edge of their seat eager for more.
In a year I would like us to be performing a few times a week to a regular audience with whispers of doing travelling shows…
Which Conspiracy members do you have improv crushes on, and why? What do they do that inspires you?
Scott McAteer is so creative yet so logical with his offers and responses.
Sophie Fernandes is very calming to work with. Improvising with her feels very connected and allows me to free up my mind.
Charlie Sturgeon is such a great support. He can make anyone look amazing.
Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd reminds us that it’s all about having fun rather than trying to get it right. This guy can turn any scene into gold just by making it fun to play.
Adam Kangas is so energetic and passionate about pushing the company along. He is a great source of insight into how we can improve in our performance.
Emmett Nichols always makes me smile with his ever-witty responses and on-stage charm.
Jack Smith chokes me with laughter every night with his classic one-liners.
How has your improv training helped your non-improv life?
Improv has taught me a lot about writing. I used to write a lot as a kid but never had any real direction. Learning about narrative structure and character relationships has given me an enormous amount of direction in scriptwriting.
I would also definitely say that improv has made me more comfortable with dealing with people in everyday situations. Improv is all about being in the moment and not letting yourself get too tied up in one’s thoughts and this rings true for everyday conversations with other people. We train hard in focusing on our partner and listening and reacting to what they say rather than letting our minds run off with other stories and this focused engagement is very effective in conversing with others…and yes this has been instrumental in my love life too!
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