What is the true nature of time and the universe? I can’t really speak on behalf of the Baltimore Improv Group as an organization or even this blog in any official capacity. Unofficially speaking, I believe the below interview with improviser* Richard Gorelick of team Thick Mints answers this and other questions about the nature of the universe. Especially the part of universe with local public speakers and improvisors*.
Read the below interview transcript for burning answers about interview show BIG Time.
Tell us all about show. How might you describe it to someone who knew nothing about improv?
BIG Time is when we invite someone from the outside to join us on stage. Our guests have been journalists, auctioneers, artists, real estate agents, teachers and ice cream makers. We interview our guest live on stage and then a team of improvisers gets to work, creating comedy from things they heard in the interview. Sometimes the inspiration is obvious and direct but sometimes what inspires the players comes from way out in left field. Sometime the inspiration comes from the weird way I ask questions.
For the more knowledgeable improv crowd, what do you hope they’ll take away from the show.
BIG Time is fundamentally an Armando format, and the classic beginning of an Armando is a monologue. An interview is a variation on the Armando, and this special-guest version of the Armando was made famous by Asssscat of the Upright Citizens Brigade.
Their guests are sometimes super famous, but I like how our guests are known around town for being a great ice cream shop owner, a lovely teacher or being an effective arts administrator.
I love doing the interviews and contributing what I can to the improv, but I find it tricky to do both. I mean, I find it challenging to do improv based on an interview that I participated in. I think that’s because in an Armando the players have to be super focused on listening to the monologue or interview. It’s funny, during the interview, I’m listening to the interview subject -- and I think that my improv skills have really improved my interview skills -- but I have trouble listening as an improviser. Does that make sense?
I love it most when the improv at BIG Time takes an A-to-C approach from the interview. I love when the inspiration reveals itself slowly and gorgeously. I am such a fan of A-to-C, it makes me so happy.
What’s the story of how you entered into improv? (Why/When/How etc)
I started doing improv about two years ago. I work for an organization that booked BIG for an event. I met Terry Withers, and Terry said, You should take an improv class, and so I did. Michael Hartwell taught the 101 Class that I took. I had before then been in meditation program and learning about mindfulness. It turned out that improv did the same things as meditation but was fun.
What other skills might people in improv develop to further enhance themselves in their craft?
I think I am happy about the improv skill-set I’ve picked up, but I know I’d feel better if I felt more physically comfortable on stage. I think it’s a great idea for improvisers to take care of themselves, mentally, of course, but physically, too. I think we all need to show up healthy and physically fit, not just to do good physical comedy, but because good health produces good, smart, funny improv.
Catch Richard at BIG Time on our schedule most weekends. And on Harold Night with Thick Mints on many Tuesdays. To find out which days are which, check out our show calendar.
*improviser or improvisor? Weigh in below in the comments!
Various BIG members and friends contribute to the blog. Enjoy!