Uncategorized

Sick Puppies Cast Member Q&A with Sara Solano!

Posted on

IMG_7090

Sara, you’ve been doing improv for a while. How did you find out about Sick Puppies Comedy?

Cast member Robyn Cassel eavesdropped on a conversation I was having at The Alchemist coffee shop in Wilton Manors with a coworker; we somehow got on the topic of me having done improv in a past life, and she told (lovingly commanded?) me to enroll in classes.

What got you involved and interested in improv?

I started doing improv in college at the University of Florida with Theatre Strike Force in the fall of 2009. I grew up watching Whose Line?, UCB YouTube videos, and sketch shows and figured well, why not?

Tell us about your first improv show ever. What was it like?

It was in the Jennings freshman dorm building at UF, in their common room area with vending machines and gross old couches. The stage was four tables put together, and I skinned my knee (through my jeans) during a particularly intense game of Chain Murder. The three STEM majors who showed up thought that was VERY funny.

What’s your favorite game/form of improv? Why?

La Ronde is my favorite long form piece right now because I absolutely love delving into strong character work and seeing how each player’s deliberate character choices play into one another to make a cohesive world in which these weirdos cohabitate. Also, the Intervention is just a really, really fun structure in which to play.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had based on your life in comedy?

I was one of a handful of members of Sick Puppies who volunteered with the teachers and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for an improv workshop, and it was truly the most impactful way I’ve ever used comedy. If I could go back and witness/participate in the power of silliness and vulnerability as a method for healing every day, I would in a minute.

Newer improvisers might be surprised by how much you continue to learn from improv, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. What’s something you recently learned, or that you’re currently working on?

The “game” doesn’t have to be something outlandish or joke-y. Trust the choices of you and your scene partner to find the game organically without feeling obligated to force it when it feels like you don’t have something immediately playable.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new improvisers?

Be confident in what your brain is telling you. If your brain or feet are moving, listen to them. Trust your instincts, and do your best to stop second-guessing yourself to wonder if what you feel compelled to say is funny or a “good” move. Do the thing!

See Sara, along with The Mighty Few this Saturday at 9:30p at Sick Puppies Comedy! Get tickets now: http://bit.ly/SaraS2018!

Advertisements

Sick Puppies Comedy Cast Q&A with Ryan Lieber!

Posted on

RyanL

 

So, Ryan, tell us…how did you find out about Sick Puppies Comedy?

Tired of just coming home after work every night and sitting in front of my TV, I was looking for something different that would interest me. I searched improv comedy on the web and found SPC. That was six years ago and I’ve been a part of the troupe ever since.

What got you involved and interested in improv?

Growing up in Chicago, which is considered the mecca of improv, I got to see shows at Second City when I was a kid and always thought it was so funny. I thought it would be fun to do it as an adult and I went for it.

Tell us about your first improv show ever. What was it like?

I remember going to Second City in Chicago for one of their “adult shows” when I was younger. I was so impressed with the talent and how the improvisers were able to think of such funny ideas in a split second. It looked like so much fun.

What’s your favorite game/form of improv? Why?

I’ve always been a sucker for short form. It’s quick, is always good for a laugh, and the audience finds it enjoyable too.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had based on your life in comedy?

I just enjoy seeing how much the audience is laughing and taking in the show. When an audience member tells you after the show how much they enjoyed it, it feels great to know I made someone laugh for a hour and was able to take them away from whatever stress or issues they may have going on in their lives.

Newer improvisers might be surprised by how much you continue to learn from improv, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. What’s something you recently learned, or that you’re currently working on?

Improv is kind of like the game of golf. No matter how long you’ve played it or performed it, you’re never going to master it. You can always improve and be better every time you go out there to perform.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new improvisers?

Be open to everything. Don’t feel ashamed about any ideas you have. Go out there and say whatever you feel for a scene. Improv is about trusting yourself and your fellow players. We’re all here to support your ideas and decisions when you’re on stage.

See Ryan, along with #NoFilter and Daddy’s Little Nest Egg this Saturday at 9p at Sick Puppies Comedy! Get tickets now: http://bit.ly/RyanL2018!

Sick Puppies Comedy Cast Q&A with Nick Henriquez!

Posted on

Get to know the one and only, Nick Henriquez in this week’s Cast Member Q&A!

IMG_2899 - Nick Henriquez

How did you find out about Sick Puppies Comedy?

I was taking a stand-up class when one of the other students mentioned Sick Puppies, which had just opened. It was too far for him to drive, but he recommended it to me. Shortly after, I joined in with the first class group Sick Puppies ever had.

What got you involved and interested in improv?

I’d watched tons of Whose Line, but it was improvised podcasts that really locked it in for me. I remember discovering them near the end of college and actually burning them onto CDs to listen to in the car. This was before I got an iPhone and the adapter that would broadcast your audio to the radio like a Mr. Microphone. So glad there’s bluetooth now.

Tell us about your first improv show ever. What was it like?

I wish I could remember details. It was a big group of students and we had a lot of fun. We wore matching t-shirts, so that right there tells you I still had a lot to learn.

What’s your favorite game/form of improv? Why?

I enjoy a long-form narrative. I like the humor and creativity involved in creating new situations to move our characters into and the feeling of accomplishment of having told a story.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had based on your life in comedy?

I love the sense of community among performers and how approachable everyone is, and I love meeting other performers from around the country and world at festivals. You can meet people with so many varied backgrounds.

Newer improvisers might be surprised by how much you continue to learn from improv, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. What’s something you recently learned, or that you’re currently working on?

I love learning a new form and then seeing all the ways there are to twist it and make it your own. There’s never enough time for all of them! I still have a parallel universes form I came up with that I’ve only been able to scratch the surface on, but I know there’s incredible depths to reach.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new improvisers?

Besides the basics, find the thing you’re good at (big characters, bringing energy, spotting connections, etc.) and become the master of that realm. Love and enjoy it, find different twists on it, innovate, thrill and surprise everyone. Then start branching out on improving your weaker areas. Don’t try to do everything at once. See the photo of me putting this into practice at a recent DCM (Del Close Marathon), playing the unflappable worker unaffected by the craziness going on around him.

You can catch Nick with SPC’s musical improv team, Shallow Howl this Saturday at 9:00 p.m. at Sick Puppies Comedy in Boca Raton, Florida. Get your tickets online at: http://bit.ly/NickH2018!

Sick Puppies Comedy Cast Q&A with Ben Brouckaert!

Posted on

 

We caught up with Sick Puppies’ very own, Ben Brouckaert in this week’s cast member Q&A. Learn a little bit more about the man, the myth (he’s totally not a myth) and the legend himself!

5EA1A274-4D88-44CA-B5E7-530CB2947B01 - Ben Brouckaert

How did you find out about Sick Puppies Comedy?

Google, they were the first result for improv classes in the area. SEO works!

What got you involved and interested in improv?

Podcasts. When I was younger, I thought improv was only what you see on Whose Line, and I never found it particularly inspiring. But when I discovered podcasts like Comedy Bang Bang and improv4humans, I learned that there was a whole other kind of improv called long form, and I knew I had to try it.

Tell us about your first improv show ever. What was it like?

It was nerve-wracking and exciting and so much fun. I still remember playing an elderly surgeon who was shorter than the operating table, and watching Chris Wheeler plank on two chairs (it was when planking was still a thing).

What’s your favorite game/form of improv? Why?

Right now, it’s the Harold. I love the challenge of creating several separate worlds and trying to bring them together in some great Seinfeldian way by the end of the show.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had based on your life in comedy?

Getting to travel to perform. Improv brought me to New York for the first time in my life, and it was an amazing experience. Also, I’ve been recognized as a Sick Puppies cast member a few times in public; that’s a cool feeling as well. Sitting at the movies and hearing someone say “hey, we were at your show tonight! I told my kids we’re going to sit next to the Sick Puppies” was cool. I now have a security detail who will not allow anyone to talk to me or look me in the eyes.

Newer improvisers might be surprised by how much you continue to learn from improv, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. What’s something you recently learned, or that you’re currently working on?

Just the other night I learned that I’m not totally sure what a trapezoid is. I looked it up, and I would give myself partial credit at best.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new improvisers?

Listen! The most satisfying scenes I’ve done are the ones where my scene partner and I listen hard to each other’s ideas and we build something together that we never could have built on our own.

You can catch Ben with SPC’s very own, Miniature Giant this Saturday at 9:00 p.m. at Sick Puppies Comedy in Boca Raton, Florida. Get your tickets online at: http://bit.ly/BenB2018!

My Evaluation of Sick Puppies Comedy

Posted on Updated on

by: Amy Mahon

Let’s talk about how awesome this Level I Improv Class is.

I wondered whether taking a beginner’s class would be worth it. After all, I’ve spent years in and out of acting, voice, dance, music, and improv classes. And while I understand the appeal of teaching – I am a teaching artist as well – in my personal experience instructors are hit-or-miss. I’ve been to some theatres where the instructors were clearly part of a clique and while they say they are open to all types of people – an appealing aspect of the arts – they’re not. I’ve been in some community classes where we were so unproductive that I actually got distracted thinking about all the things I had to do when I got home instead of being absorbed in the lessons.

So I wasn’t the type of student that was walking in off the street wondering, “what’s this?” I was the student who knew what this is, and I had high expectations.

All, of course, which were met. But, by my surprise, were also exceeded.

I’m not new to this. While my skills are much stronger in writing – I was studying in UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting while participating in Second City’s Online Writing Program. I have read Viola Spolin and two years ago read Greg Tavares’ Improv For Everyone, which I used heavily when I was an acting and improv teacher in Virginia. My goal was to meet others that I could possibly collaborate with on future projects, develop as a teacher, but also have fun. As a teacher I didn’t have a lot of time to perform myself because I was always focused on my students, and I found that my skills needed to be refreshed. I wasn’t too keen on starting at Level 1 since (a) as a teacher, I know how frustrating it is to have that one kid in the class who has all the correct answers and unintentionally makes the other kids not feel as confident, and I really didn’t want to be THAT person and (b) I really didn’t want to waste my time or money (I said I’m an artist, not an anesthesiologist, financial manager, pilot, or someone else in a lucrative career).

I walked in the class with the most experience, but it shows the skill of our instructor, Casey Casperson, who helped us advance individually but also as a class. He side coached during various games and gave us individual feedback as a group, so we were able to learn from and teach each other through our mistakes. And he presented information in a logical, realistic manner that any adult will be able to understand.

This wasn’t a class intended to stroke anyone’s ego and that’s vital in an improvisation class. It’s all about the work. When it becomes about ego, individuals alienate the group, and that goes against the collaborative nature of improv. You are building something together – that is what improv is about. You’re creating something out of nothing and using a defined structure to make it happen. You’re not up there doing bits or reciting hackneyed jokes, but rather, you’re creating fresh, original material that exists ephemerally.

As someone who has been in classes that catered to people’s misconceptions of improvisation, I am grateful for the integrity in teaching here.

So it really doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned actor, standup comedian, or sketch comedy writer/performer who wants to try improv, or someone who knows nothing about it other than it looks like a lot of fun on the show Who’s Line Is It Anyway, the Level 1 class will help you and be fun for you. It will improve your listening, reacting, and observation skills, and for actors, well, I’m sure you already know how it will help you in castings.So if you’re a seasoned performer, like me, who wants solid training that’s going to be worth the time and the money, sign up.

If you’re a doctor, attorney, college student, or college graduate living in your parents’ house working hard to afford moving out, sign up. It will be worth it for you, too.

Back in June when I signed up I didn’t think that by the end of August I’d have actually downloaded WhatsApp and started planning on hanging out and rehearsing improv or writing material with my classmates, and I am excited to report back with what I am learning and doing with them as we continue on to Level 2!