Improviser of the month April 2009
What is your name?
Where do you live and work?
Chicago, IL (USA)
What is your day job?
Actor / Teacher / Recruiter
How did you discover improvisation?
The summer after my freshman year of college I got a job working at a theme park, as part of an improv comedy ensemble. We interacted with guests, and did impromptu short-form shows. Still one of the best jobs I've had.
How do you practice improvisation?
I subscribe to the belief that it is like a muscle, and that it benefits from repetition and various approaches. I perform where and when I can, and also find that teaching improvisation helps me.
How did you learn?
My first experience (theme park) was a great introduction, as I was part of a smart & supportive ensemble, with a fantastic director. We used iO (formerly ImprovOlympic)'s manual Truth In Comedy as a guide for some group-mind aspects. Returning to school that fall and for the remainder of my college time, I rehearsed and performed improv regularly with like-minded actor friends at school. This is where I realized how much I loved the art, and how much I wanted to learn more. Moving to Chicago in 2002 to eventually study at iO, The Annoyance, and live in this environment was a beneficial progression.
Any advice for beginners?
Throw yourself into it (whether it's a scene, a game, any improv element). Making a choice and committing to it is far more important than waiting to find/create an ideal line or idea. THAT we do something is most often more important than WHAT we do. It helps us mentally by getting us out of our head, it helps our scene partner because we're immediately adding character to the scene, and (if in a performance) it is almost always more pleasing to an audience.
What is your favourite improvisation quote?
"Throw gasoline on the fire."
The most satisfying story or scene you ever improvised in?
I think of moments in college, game-scenes and such, which hopefully will never leave my memory. However my recent (last few years) experience with two fellow improvisers is top of mind. More than a single story or scene, I think of how well we play together, and the comfort & ability we have to meet at festivals (one of us is no longer in Chicago) and still have such a strong connection on stage.
Your favourite improvisation website
Your main website