S: Let’s start off with you telling me a little bit about yourself. What do you do for fun outside of improv? What are you studying? Anything you want to share.
A: Sure. So I’m in my final year of an english degree with a creative writing minor here at the U of A. This is my third year that I’ve been living in Edmonton and Canada as a whole. I am originally from the states - I’m from Ohio. Outside of improv I work at a Vietnamese restaurant, I eat a lot of food from said vietnamese restaurant, I read a lot of books for my classes and otherwise. Oh, and I also like to rock climb over at the wall that we have here on campus.
S: The PAW Centre? Is that what it is?
A: Yes, exactly.
A: I do encounter one Chris Bautista there fairly often.
S: Oh yes, shout out to the one and only Chris Bautista.
S: How long have you been with the UIG?
A: I’ve been with the UIG ever since I started university here - so three years now.
S. Nice, Nice.
S: Alright, so how have you found this semester with the UIG so far? Maybe if you can speak to any highlights or things that particularly stood out to you.
A: Sure. So this semester has been interesting because we do have a lot of new members. I want to say it’s about the same as what we had last year, but I feel like we have a more even balance of returners and new members this year. Or at least new members who have had some experience or encounter with improv before. So that’s been really cool to see. I think the development overall is good. We’re at a good point in the year right now. I did enjoy our long form show. I think that went pretty well. It’s good to see a lot of my friends from last year back in addition to some new people and making new friends and seeing new talent. Yeah, it’s been good.
S: Exciting stuff. So you briefly mentioned the November long form show. A highlight of that for me was definitely your phenomenal outfit change. What inspired that? It was iconic!
A: So, I was thinking because we were doing a soap opera sorta deal I was like “What is more soap opera-y than some kind of grande physical reveal?”. I thought “How can I get away with this? What do I have in my closet?”. I have a dress that is basically just a giant sparkly tube. So I figured “yeah, that’s easy to hide under a pair of pants and a button-down”. I was like “well, this isn’t an intention to try to steal the entire focus of the show, but I think this would add a really nice punch to it”, and it worked out well.
S: It was amazing! It was phenomenal, honestly possibly my favourite moment of the year so far.
A: Hahaha, nice!
S: So moving on, what is something that you’ve learned this year so far throughout maybe like the workshops, or maybe just something that you learned throughout performing, whether it be at jams or in a show.
A: Sure. So one thing that I think I would say I learned was that it was really nice seeing Michael Johnson come back and give a workshop. For anyone who hasn’t been in UIG for quite as long as I have, he was a member two years ago. So my first year. He’s really talented, and that year in particular was just an incredible year for a lot of very developed talent that had been with the club for an incredibly long time. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for the larger improv and performance world of Edmonton as a whole, a lot of them moved on from UIG after that year. So it was nice to see him being successful out in the general performance world and being able to come back and demonstrate the skills that he had learned and pass them on to the current members. It’s interesting to see for me because I’d like to get into some kind of performance in the world at large and it’s cool to see people from this smaller grassroots organization succeeding on the whole.
S: Cool. I definitely agree with that. This is just my second year here with the UIG, so I wasn’t here the year Anna alluded to there, but it’s really interesting to me when I find out that some of our workshoppers are UIG alumni. It’s really inspiring to know that we more or less started in similar places and to see the path they have taken, or even paths plural in all their artistic endeavours. It’s quite interesting.
A: Oh yeah, if I hadn’t been intimidated by them before, I definitely am now ...just kidding, I’ve always been intimidated by them, they’re fantastic! They’re so spectacular, oh my gosh.