Amey Goerlich is one incredible improviser and human being. We met through our mutual friend, Jay Sukow and I’m so grateful! We chatted about her Improv Story and how she taught kindergarteners to make a movie! She is so full of life and comfortable to speak with. I felt like I’d known her forever! She shared stories of her early days as an improviser and our mutual love of the fabulous Jane Morris.
After being in LA, Amey made the move to Denver where she runs her theatre, Chaos Bloom. While we were speaking there were finishing touches being made to her theatre and wait till you hear about her wallpaper in the bathrooms. Amey has practiced inclusivity for many years and is a pioneer in online improv as the artistic director of e-mprov.com. She was so generous with her time – we even did a 20- minute scene. Please take a listen and explore the happy world of Amey Goerlich!
I was so excited to interview my dear friend Max Schaefer, who studied with Viola Spolin and Paul Sills. Max had great tales about his experiences learning improv from Viola and working with Paul at Playback theatre. He is high energy and a living example of “yes, and”. We had a lot of laughs and hope you will as well!
Max Schafer leads Spolin workshops around the world. He is the author of “Viola Spolin’s Theater Games for the Classroom” Multimedia CD. He has studied under and was directed by Viola Spolin. He was stage manager for Paul Sills. He also studied with Carol Sills, Aretha Sills, Alan Arkin, Dick Schaal, Avery Schrieber, Bob Moyer, and Gary Schwartz. Max teaches Spolin improvisation around the world. He has been a distinguished certificated classroom teacher for over 40 years. He is a computer programmer and software publisher. He is a toy inventor and president of a toy company. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan. He now lives in Los Angeles. He runs a Music Improv group. His current Spolin workshop in England on Zoom can be found at https://www.eventbrite.com/…/online-improv-elective… Max runs the World Spolin Network, Musical Improv Network, and Dance Improv Network on Facebook. His “Art Rods” can be found at www.funartrods.com. Paul teaching Spolin games at The Nursery on June 13. This workshop filled up quickly but be on the lookout for Paul Click here for The Nursery Theatre You can follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/max.schafer1
What a great joy meeting LeWayne McQueen. He is one of very few Native American improvisers in the U.S. I know you’ll enjoy his great energy and humor as much as I did! One of the things he loves to do with Deboope Newe to put his urban Indian culture into the improv itself, put some language, and sometimes singing on display. His mother passed when he was 18, after seeing him compete in the first annual four directions talent competition. We talk about how this loss changed him. He ran his own independent improv show and class for eight years before the pandemic started. He performs with Mancandy, a musical improv show that fluctuates between full musicals and improv musical review style shows.
“My most important professional accomplishment to date is the ability to keep working with absolutely no skills whatsoever.” Colin Mochrie
An improviser always says yes and how grateful I am that the terrific Colin Mochrie said yes to sharing his story on Improv Interviews with all of us! Colin is, of course, best known for being in the cast of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” which aired first in the UK and then with Drew Carey in the states. Colin and I met at the premiere of the film Act Social Film directed by Sean Mulvihill which Colin also stars in. had a lot of laughs during our chat and I discovered what a genuinely authentic and loving person he is.
He shares wonderful stories of his life as an improviser, comedian, and devoted family man. Although I thought we would only have a half-hour, we ended up speaking for an hour and even playing an improv game! Check out The Alphabet Game with Colin & Margot
What a delight to get to know Stephen Davidson! Stephen is a totally joy-filled improviser who is the Artistic Director of The Improvised Play, Improvable, QI: Queer Improv, Carmen: A gender-swapped Film Noir Fantasy, and of Zeal: The Pride Improv Festival. Stephen is the author of two books about improv, Play Like an Ally and Improvising Gender. Stephen teaches improv independently and through Improvable, with the Free London Improv Project, City Academy, and Hoopla Improv. He has taught and performed all over the world. We chat about his improv origin story and so much more. You’ll understand why his students love him.
Join me and the delightful Maria Schaedler-Luera as we discuss her life as an actor and improviser. She studied with the legendary Augusto Boal and continues to teach his work today. We discuss her move to the states and how that impacted her continuing work with diverse and immigrant folks. For many years Maria, a Brazilian-born educator, and artist studied to be an actor. When she was 15, instead of having a traditional quinceanera, the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday, she asked for a trip to New York City. After college, she returned to NY to study at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. We talk about the challenges she faced as an actor, who would audition for Latin roles, but due to looking “too white” was cast as European needing German, French and other accents.
Siddharth Venkatesh is a beloved improviser with Improv Comedy Bangalore who has fans all around the world. He loves the “Globalization” of improv in the present scenario, as he gets to improvise with and learn from amazing Improvisers from all over the world. We had a wonderful chat with him and did a fun scene with our friend Landon Kirksey at https://youtu.be/LwOBmU2BTco In early September he co-created the ICB FB Community with the objective of enhancing peer to peer interactions, learning, and supporter of Improv. He loves to play Indian classical percussion, which also has an element of improvisation embedded in it. I know you will enjoy this gentle and fun man as much as I did!
I first saw Cheng Zeng at a Black Improvisors and People of Other Cultures improv webinar. Listen to Cheng Zeng’s story of growing up in a traditional Chinese family and how that shaped his first career path. Because there were no arts or drama in his schools and universities, he studied engineering, with no thought of the arts. He describes getting in trouble with his teachers because he “asked too many questions”. He first encountered Improvisational Theatre when he moved to Bejing. He was hooked right away, as so many of us are!
Will Luera is a champion of bringing theatre art to all people, especially those who haven’t had access or ever hear the words, Improv Theatre! He recently became a CrossFit Coach and adds Conflict Mediator to his resume. Although he grew up in Chicago, for 18 years he didn’t know about Improv! It was only when he went to Boston College to study Physics and Computer Engineering, that he learned about improv. Returning home every summer he would study at places like Second City and the IO. And after college, he was part of Improv Boston and now is the Director Emeritus of ImprovBoston.
I know you will fall in love with Stephanie Rae as much as I did in this podcast. Stephanie Rae is an improviser, community organizer, writer who has been studying traditional and musical improv for the last eleven years. After falling in love with the form at the Washington Improv Theater, she moved to Miami, founded Negative Four Months, and created hit shows including Law & Disorder and The Laughter Games. She later joined the Society Circus Players, performing monthly in Coral Gables and in festivals including Miami Improv, Palm Beach, Countdown, and UCB’s Del Close Marathon – in which she conceived and directed a Boyz II Men themed improv show. Stephanie has taught weekly classes for Red Carpet Kids and workshops for teens and adults from around the world.