The Other Side of the Table

Another first for ol’ Brie here. This week marks the first time I’ve ever stood behind a table and held auditions of OTHER people for one of my* projects.

(I helped a friend audit once, a little while back, but it doesn’t count because I had nothing else to do with the project. Shout-out to Mishi here!)

Though it wasn’t a ginormous audition for some big-time movie, or some grand Broadway production, it still felt really freakin’ cool! It’s me, scouting for people I don’t know, who may or may not help me build this brand new-project here in Niagara. It’s so fun and exciting! We even had a write-up in the paper about it and everything:Screenshot 2018-01-28 22.46.44.png

We’re going to hold another one in February because we’re still a little short on numbers, so I get to do it all over again next month. Hopefully with a whole bunch of people who are super-interested and excited to entertain the Niagara Region by making fun shit up on the spot.

Gimme a Yay! This is so exciting!

*When I say “my” of course, I mean “our”. “Our” being Dina and I and anyone invested in the existence and success of Improv Niagara.

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Why It’s Cool I didn’t Play with Colin Mochrie

I went to Wheel of Improv tonight. It was Wheel’s 6th birthday and Colin Mochrie and Rob Norman were Boomer’s guests.

I wanted to play with Colin because he’s famous. I mean it’s Colin Mochrie for Pete’s sake!

Here’s why playing with Rob was better. Firstly, he’s younger and better looking. (Sorry Colin.)

But for realsies, I feel like when you’re in a scene with Rob Norman, he’s constantly teaching you things while he plays with you. Tonight, I played a character with a real competitive edge, all full of conflict and the likes; Rob’s character was docile; a why-can’t-we-all-get-along? type, which to me was a clear message: why the conflict?! It doesn’t have to be a competition! There do not need to be winners or losers. I don’t always have to be loud-mouthed, high-status bullies.

Maybe this is proof that I was too in my head in the scene tonight. Even if it isn’t, I am taking a mental note to be less antagonistic in my character choices. (Even though I got a pretty big laugh by calling Rob a motherfucker.)

Ah well…Happy Birthday Wheel! Thanks Boomer, for everything you do.

Photo stolen from Wheel of Improv's Twitter.

Photo stolen from Wheel of Improv’s Twitter.

Chest Hair Surprises

I received the nicest compliment yesterday right after Guess Who’s Coming to Improv? from a woman who had tried improv for the very first time that night at the show. She and I had played a scene together during the show. My get for our scene was “chest hair.” It was a short scene, but a striking one nevertheless.

After the show, she told me something along the lines of: “I was so glad to see it was you standing on stage, because I felt like no matter what I did, I could feel safe.”

It was the greatest compliment I’ve received as an improviser.

And to those who were in the audience, it was a hilarious and surprising scene.

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It’s 2015. Knock something off your bucket list.

Guess Who’s Gonna Be Eating Bacon?

This message was posted on the Guess Who’s Coming to Improv? Facebook page today.  It is heartwarming and amazing:

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This message is a greater gift than any host could hope for.  And yet, tonight, Rachel came back to the show and gifted me with two hilarious scenes as well as the following:

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I didn’t really know what to expect when I started hosting #GWCI. I wanted to play more, I wanted others to have the opportunity to play more, and I wanted people from all levels of the learning spectrum to mingle and create magic together.

I certainly never in the process ever expected BACON!

These are life’s wonderful little gifts.

Thank you Rachel!

Naomi Snieckus & Alastair Forbes To Perform at next GWCI?

I’m so stoked to announce that this Saturday’s show features none other than Second City Main Stage alumni: Naomi Snieckus and Alastair Forbes. And if YOU attend, YOU might get to play with them!

Get to know more about these two phenomenal improvisers/people and read on:

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Naomi Snieckus is an actor, writer, improviser, voice over artist, and director. She studied at University of Waterloo and then Ryerson Theatre School before moving to Vancouver for five years. An alumnus of the world renowned Second City in Toronto she wrote and performed in 5 shows and met her funny man Matt Baram. She is a founding member (along with Matt Baram) of five time Canadian Comedy Award winning The National Theatre of the World and performs and produces: Impromptu Splendor, The Carnegie Hall Show and The Script Tease Project. The National Theatre of The World is a company in residence at The Young Centre For The Performing Arts in Toronto. They have traveled internationally to Berlin, Israel, Amsterdam, England, New York, South Carolina, Chicago, Los Angeles as well as throughout Canada. Naomi won the Canadian Comedy Award for best female improviser in 2010, as well as best female in a TV Series (Mr.D) and was nominated for an Actra Award in 2013 for her work in Mr.D.

STAGELA_STAGEComedypx468Alastair Forbes is a Second City Mainstage Alumni, Dora Award nominee and two-time nominee for the Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Improvisor. You may have seen him on your TV (Insecurity and The Ron James Show, CBC; The Bridge, CTV;Breakout Kings, A&E; That’s so Weird, YTV) on your big screen (My Ex Ex) on your stage near you (Theatre by the Bay, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Centaur) or have seen his voice on your radio (Go!, CBC Radio One). He has written for YTV’s That’s So Weird and is a story editor on a CTV development project Matt and Jeff. Oh, and yes, he’s probably that guy from that commercial you saw. You can catch him almost every week performing at the Comedy Bar or with his critically acclaimed improv troupe Bonspiel!

For more information, check out:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1510937449152943/?fref=ts

The Arrival and Departure of the Bipolar Express

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On Saturday, December 14th, my Second City Conservatory class completed our year-long training program at the Second City Training Centre teaching us how to improvise and develop premises for scenes used to create a Second City-style production.  We performed it on the Main Stage at 3pm.  I arrived home in Streetsville at 3am.  It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my comedy career to date.

Because I feel this blog post won’t truly be able to describe the sheer joy, thrill, pride (the good kind), love and fun that resulted from that day’s performance, I thought maybe instead, I’d offer up a few things I’ve written down over the course of the last year that I thought were worth remembering, and if anyone else happens to stumble upon this page, maybe you’ll find it helpful in your own pursuit of improvisational nirvana:

  • When you get lost, Stop & Explore;
  • Really Listen – like, the way you have to when someone with a heavy accent is speaking to you and you want to make sure you don’t give them the wrong advice, or send them in the wrong direction, unless you do it on purpose for hilarious consequences, but seriously, listen up!
  • Stuck asking questions in a scene all the time?  How about using a little thing called your emotions.  Be affected by the offers you’re receiving.  If someone says something mean, be angry, DAMNIT!  Don’t just try to think up some clever comeback.  Stop trying to be so damn clever, will you?
  • Learn the Dinosaur Game, because it’s fun.
  • Be present in your scene.
  • Like a fine wine, let those special moments breathe in your scene;
  • Shut the fuck up backstage!
  • If and when possible, use pyrotechnics.
  • Play real life characters, give people something with which they can identify.
  • Read Lord of the Flies;
  • Don’t be afraid to kill your babies, (even if they are great songs you worked your ass off re-writing)
  • Forgive yourself; the 2nd time you run a scene will probably be the worst.  Know that, and run it until it works;
  • Push your limits, and don’t rein it in until you’ve gotten as far as you can go – and then some.

It also helps to work with an amazing group of people who are all hilarious and wonderful; all from different stages in the game;  all dealing with their own crap outside the classroom,  but all of whom have had a remarkable impact on my comedic education thus far.  I was really lucky to get to work with such a great group of individuals and at the risk of sounding corny, I’m ridiculously sad that we only get to play together once more.

Oh that’s right, I didn’t mention the REMOUNT?  Well, for those of you who didn’t make it out on the 14th on account of the absolutely awful weather conditions, book off Friday morning from work because we’re boarding The Bipolar Express one last time on Thursday, January 23rd at 11pm at the Second City Main Stage and trust, you do not want to miss this party.

What a year, CCC readers. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

I don’t normally like wrestling…

I was feeling a bit frustrated the past couple days because I really wanted to check out the opening of the new Second City main stage show, We Can Be Heroes, but tickets were sold out and short from showing up and sneaking in, I couldn’t really afford to go anyway. I attended one opening when I worked there and it was such a great atmosphere among the crowd, which was filled with Second City alumni and friends of the community just buzzing over the accomplishment and excitement of putting on a brand new show.

So, I wondered what I could do that would be comedy-productive, since checking out the new revue wasn’t happenin’.  I decided trying to get on at Yuk Yuk’s that evening would be that thing.  It feels like it’s been a century since I last performed stand-up comedy.

I signed up for Humber night and was put on the stand-by list.  I pretty much swam to the club in yesterday’s crazy downpour and enough people hadn’t shown up that I was given a set in the middle of the line-up.  The sent went really well.  The club wasn’t packed, but the crowd was so into it, they were laughing heartily.  Ahhh… music to my ears!  Granted, I was a little out of practise, but – I was still pleased with how it turned out.  It was also great to see some Humber folks, past and present still going hard at working on their craft.

When I got off stage, I checked my watch and realized there was still time to make it to the Second City Training Centre Tuesday night improv drop-in that I normally don’t drop-in on on Tuesday nights because I typically have class.  And after 8+ hours of work and 3 hours of improv, I’m normally pretty pooped.  Anyway, I went – attended, participated as “The Mighty Cheese” (which is now my wrestling name) and had a fun time playing some silly improv games in what is admittedly far to close to an actual WWE wrestling format for my comfort.  But we gotta break out of those comfort zones, n’est-ce pas?  I played a game working on emotional levels, and another sortof confusing larger group scene which was… shall we say… interesting?

What a fun and productive day!  New jokes were told, new improvisers were met, new underwear were worn (I wish – I’m broke!)

Next on the agenda:  I’m getting new head shots!   Sidenote:  I’ve been meaning to get this done for MONTHS!   (It’s FINALLY gonna happen!!)

This is the look I'm aiming for!

This is the look I’m aiming for!