Improv Conspiracy Blog

The latest news, opinions and more!

  April 1, 2015

During 2015, Improv Conspiracy member Mike Brown is going to have a chat to every single member of the Conspiracy - about life, about improv, and everything in between. This is: You're Going To Meet Some People.

Today is a special edition with sketch trio Trillcumber. Trillcumber are made up of three members who all met at the Improv Conspiracy – Mario HannahHayley Tantau, and Simon McCulloch. Their show Is This Intimacy? is on through Saturday at Fitzroy bar The Catfish at 8pm.

Mike Brown: We all good?

[Mario checks the Zoom audio recorder that he has set up]

Mario Hannah: I've only got 25 hours left, so keep travelling.

Hayley Tantau: I can't talk about my drug addiction.

Will you give me the recording of this?

Mario Hannah: That’s the idea. [laughs]

Ok, I thought you were just doing this to show off?

Mario Hannah: Nah. I just want to, I'm just wondering, cause you know, a Zoom is a good investment, so if I can help you… I like to help.

I appreciate it.

Hayley Tantau: [laughs] Just let Mario help you! Just let someone in!

Simon McCulloch: A Zoom’s a good investment so if I can help you. It’s like you’re offering me one.

Are you giving me the Zoom?

Mario Hannah: I'm a Zoom salesman.

[all laugh]

This company is just a front for you to sell Zooms.

Mario Hannah: It’s all an elaborate plot to sell a single Zoom.

Hayley Tantau: This sketch group was all… oh nooooo!

Simon McCulloch: It’s all an umbrella corp.

Hayley Tantau: This is why every time we meet for coffee you try to sell me Zooms!


Mario Hannah: Shall we start? [laughs]

So I'm always curious about origin stories – how did the three of you come together to start Trillcumber?

Mario Hannah: I think it was just a Facebook conversation.

So the three of you were friends?

Hayley Tantau: Any time we were at a party, it would always be like us three in the corner talking about, I don't know, doing bits and stuff.

Simon McCulloch: Like creeps in the corner.

Hayley Tantau: Yeah, total creeps, and then eventually we just started messaging on Facebook which just made for more bits. And now we’re doing a Comedy Fest show, that’s that.

Mario Hannah: So we did improv together.

Simon McCulloch: Still do.

Mario Hannah: Yeah we still do. But we were all in separate teams, and we bonded over a Improv Conspiracy Christmas party one time, we were coming up with spin-off ideas for Neighbours one time.

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  April 1, 2015

During 2015, Improv Conspiracy member Mike Brown is going to have a chat to every single member of the Conspiracy - about life, about improv, and everything in between. This is: You're Going To Meet Some People.

Today is a special Play Like A Girl edition. Mike speaks to cast members Nadine SparksEllyse O’HalloranLaura BuskesCat CommanderAmruta Nargundkar, and Kay Chan. Play Like A Girl has three editions left – Thursday April 2 [ed- SOLD OUT], Saturday April 4, and Tuesday April 7 [ed- SOLD OUT]. See it 6:30pm at the Croft Institute in the City.

Mike Brown: Play Like A Girl is the Conspiracy’s first gender specific improv show. What has it been like performing together with a group of women compared to playing as part of  your Harold team or playing as part of the Remix, where the genders are mixed? Are there differences?

Laura Buskes: Definitely. There are definitely differences. Merrilee [McCoy, Melbourne based improviser and producer] really nailed it when she was talking about something like this that she’s done before. She said often in improv troupes you as a girl often rely on men to play certain characters or do certain moves in a show. So it’s quite refreshing to have onus back on to you that you are responsible for everything.

Kay Chan: I don’t know, it hasn’t been too different for me. Because you can always choose to play a man or a women, and even on my Harold team [Airblade] I can endow anyone as a man or a woman. The only difference is that there’s heaps of chatter, which is a good and fun thing, whenever we rehearse people want to talk talk talk [laughs].

Nadine Sparks: The reason we wanted to do it is Nightingale, which is an all-female Harold team made up of any females [in the Conspiracy], we were working really well together, and Ellyse and I, and Sophie[Fernandes] and Lucy [Horan]who were in Eye Curtains which was another female troupe, and that was working really well, so we just thought it would be really nice. I mean I’ve been on a Harold team where I’ve been the only female for about two months, you know what I mean? So it’s just nice to, you play differently with women, and I think it’s a nice energy and it’s really nice to find out how different people play.

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  March 31, 2015

During 2015, Improv Conspiracy member Mike Brown is going to have a chat to every single member of the Conspiracy - about life, about improv, and everything in between. This is: You're Going To Meet Some People.

Today, a special edition made up of two Improv Conspiracy alumni. Between the two of them, Andrew Strano and Charlie Sturgeon have been a major part of the Conspiracy's young life - they have played in Harold Night teams, The Remix cast, coached improv teams, taught improv workshops, and most importantly - have never been afraid to experiment with what improv can be. Together, they currently make up the completely silent improv duo Quiet Achievers, who can be seen at the Tuxedo Cat, 6pm until Saturday. See them tonight as part of the Melbourne International Cage Match Festival, 10pm at the Dan O'Connell Hotel.

Mike Brown: I'm here with Andrew and Charlie, the Quiet Achievers. Guys, welcome.

[both wave]

You've both been a big part of the Conspiracy - how did you come to decide to team up and strip all talking out of your show?

[Andrew pulls out a A3 notebook from his bag and flicks to a page that says 'silent improv'. He runs his index finger back and forth under the word silent.]


Do one of you have a cold or something?

[Charlie shakes his head. He opens his mouth wide and extends his right arm out, as if singing a show tune. No noise is heard.]

Alright moving on, what do you do when you want to relax?

[Charlie mimes reading a book]

Hey we're in the middle of an interview here.

[Charlie makes a motion with his hands to apologise.] 

Can I be honest? It's really hard to transcribe an interview when neither of you talk.

[Andrew and Charlie look at each other, shrug. Andrew reaches for the notebook and starts pointing to the word silent]

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  March 31, 2015

During 2015, Improv Conspiracy member Mike Brown is going to have a chat to every single member of the Conspiracy - about life, about improv, and everything in between. This is: You're Going To Meet Some People.

As part of this series, we ask for questions from the Improv Conspiracy student group on Facebook. Today, well respected Conspiracy alumni Dan Pavatich takes nothing but questions from the students, in a special edition of YGTMSP. See Dan in Bear Attack, Thursday through Saturday, 11pm at the Victoria Hotel; or in his solo show Please Stay, 8:30 Tuesday through Saturday at Highlander Bar.

Mike Brown: These are all from the student group.

Dan Pavatich: Oh great.

So Daniel asks: What’s the oldest piece of technology that you own?

Oh wow. I own a tarot deck that I've owned for maybe fifteen, twenty years. It’s certainly much older than that. I think that’s the oldest thing that I own, yeah. I would call it technology.

Do you use it in a technical fashion? It doesn’t read your e-mail, does it?

It reads my future Mike.

Which I guess is a kind of e-mail [laughs].

Yeah. Future e-mails, I guess. Yeah, [laughs]. The future is largely technical I feel, and therefore…

Technical more than technology.

Yeah, that’s true. I don’t know how technical it is. Look, I don’t know how tarot works. Alright, underneath the covers I don’t know. But what I do know is that I get a lot of technical information out of it. What I’m going to be doing, what my love life is going to be like.

How did you come into possession of the tarot deck?

I was given it by a family member who’s my aunt Agnes who has a lazy eye, ultimately became a glass eye. She’s believed to be psychic by most of my family but she’s really just a weird old woman. I don’t know if she had any powers, she didn't like technology, I know that. I caught her once hitting a VCR in my grandparents’ home. So that’s aunt Agnes, she gave it to me because you’re not meant to buy one for yourself, you’re meant to be given them. That’s the superstition from Scotland. So yeah, that’s where I got them from.

Another question from the student group. Danny asks: You’re corn from the cob. Why you not pop when boiled champ?

Is this my own question? [laughs] I think I asked this but my answer is ‘cause I have thought about this, is that you know like sometimes you gotta be you, alright? Not every caterpillar has to turn into a butterfly. Sometimes you just gotta be corn yo, if that’s your game.


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  March 25, 2015

During 2015, Improv Conspiracy member Mike Brown is going to have a chat to every single member of the Conspiracy - about life, about improv, and everything in between. This is: You're Going To Meet Some People.

Today, Mike chats with Sophie Fernandes. Sophie performs on Harold Night team Dirt Squad, and directs and performs in the Improv Conspiracy's all-female Comedy Festival show Play Like A Girl.

Mike Brown: Hello Sophie, welcome.

Sophie Fernandes: Hello.

What's your favourite thing about improvising?

I think my favourite thing is been the fact that you get taken completely out of your head and I'm the sort of person that over-thinks everything or analyses everything and is anxious about everything, and so to be put in the position where you don't have the time for your brain to even process what's happening. It's just all instinctual which is really nice and I found that it could be quite a relaxing thing, even though...

It's incredibly stressful?

Your adrenaline is pumping. It's also relaxing in a way because you're not thinking about work or thinking about all the stuff you've gotta get done on the weekend, your sort of day-to-day life, yeah.

In your day-to-day life, are you the kind of person who will go over and over things before doing them? Because I found I was the same and that changed the more I did improv.

Yeah, I have found that I have been able to become more flexible. Particularly with work, because I work in events and that's something that you need to do is be prepared for anything to happen and not stress about it too much when it does, just go OK, this thing's happened now and I have to deal with it. And I found that both of those skills - my improv and my ability to deal with unpredictable circumstances has kind of increased at the same time. Which was, I guess it's not surprising when you look at it, oh yeah that makes sense [laughs].

It sort of seems like "where was this in my life all that time?!?"

Yeah. Because I am a huge control freak, and so you know I'm in a job where you have control to a point and then you have no control because anything can happen and it's not something that you're able to predict because it's relying on other people or the weather.

I know for me it used to be that constant thinking about "oh this is not right, oh this is so bad" and now it's like "let's throw something at the wall and try and make it work."

Yeah and just that rolling with the punches idea. I guess I've discovered that I'm a contrariety person where on the one hand I am just this huge control freak who has anxiety issues but I'm quite open and flexible to the possibility of anything happening. Which seems like a paradox [laughs], but...

They somehow work together, which is nice.

Yeah just enough! Sometimes one tips up over the other.

It's like those scales in court.

Yeah [laughs]. Those judge scales.

Ok, so. What do you do when you want to relax then? Apart from improv?

Oh I'm not very good at it, I'm not very good at relaxing [laughs], which I think is because I think I need to be busy all the time, and it's something that I've had to really work at, having real downtime where I don't, it doesn't have to be productive time, I don't have to be actually getting something done and kind of the way I look at it now which is probably wrong in it's own way, "this is productive in that I am resting". So I'll do the usual things like watch TV or listen to music, go for walks, hang out with my cat.

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