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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!"?
My brother Liam – who has five years on me – doing his school TheatreSports competition when I was in Year Seven. It was love at first sight! Although, to be fair, for the first 18 years of my life I was so in thrall to be my brother that the mere fact of his participation in any particular activity was enough to lock me on a new life trajectory. We can just be thankful he picked improv as opposed to, say, white supremacy.
What aspects of the Harold do you find the most rewarding? The most challenging?
I fell like the Harold always comes into its own when one's team becomes sufficiently familiar with the rules of the format that they can just start ignoring them. Well, less ignoring them and more bending and breaking them into exciting new shapes and formats.
The most challenging thing is often relaxing into one's first scenes. Coming from a TheatreSports background the impulse is often to jump in with a pre-determined offer and just start flooding the stage with gags. Which is fine and all, but when you've already sucked all the marrow from a concept, those second beats start to draaaaaaaaaag.
What would you like your team to be capable of by the end of Comedy Festival? A year from now?
Comedy Festival: Doing openings that don't feel like openings and second beats that don't feel like scenes.
A Year From Now: Transubstantiating water into wine.
Which Conspiracy members do you have improv crushes on, and why? What do they do that inspires you?
Charlie Sturgeon for his impeccable physicality and voice work. It's impossible to take your eyes off him. Emmet Nichols for always immediately working out what's going on and playing up to it, no matter how oblique the offer. And Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd for being improv's version of a tropical cyclone.
How has your improv training helped your non-improv life?
I write for a living and often have to speak and read from my work. But the written word is by definition a constrained style and it's all too easy to settle into rote recitation. Improv has helped me become at ease with the idea of performance and made me much happier to deviate off script and follow my more unexpected thought patterns to their logical conclusions.
That and I'm in it for the babes.
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