Show of the Week – INTERVIEW – One Board Man

This week our show of the week is a One Man Show with a difference – it includes drawing, characters and narrative based of hand drawn images. It is like an improv show like no other – I caught up with John to find out more.

Hello John! Tell us about One Board Man who you are and a little bit about yourselves?

One Board Man is a solo improv show. Using longform improv techniques, the show primarily revolves around a story of the titular one man, and the characters he draws on a series of whiteboards. These drawn characters are inspired by members of the audience, and they play a a key part in telling a completely improvised play.

One Board Man was created in Aberystwyth, Wales, where I went to university and performed with the university improv society Exploding Fish.

How did you come up with the name of you troupe?

The name One Board Man just came during one rehearsal. It was the first thing that came to mind which was clear and easy to understand. It tells you exactly what the show is!

Tell us a little bit about the show you are performing on the 22nd April?

On the 22nd April I will be performing with The Inheritance, a Harold team from Bristol made up of some of the funniest comedians and performs I know. Theyre a great bunch of people, and we’re looking to perform more and improve as a team.

What sort of style of improv does One Board Man do? Do you always do the same format?

The format for One Board Man is always the same. Its an improvised play using a lot of Longform elements to create characters and games throughout. Things like Heat & Weight, scene painting, flashbacks are all used to create a story with the one human character appearing in every scene.

There is a huge element of fun to be had with it, which is the most important part. If I’m not having fun, or its not fun to watch, it doesn’t work.

I try to be as physical with the board characters as much as possible, throwing them around, changing their facial expressions, and sometimes I’ll have members of the audience jump up and play those board characters

What’s the highlights of some of your previous shows?

Some highlights include audience interaction, like strange physical movements they would do while on stage, and having boards argue with eachother while I sit and watch them shout at each other!

The best highlights are the moments that are completely spontaneous. I love it when the boards fall over accidentally, or parts of the plot begin to go in a completely new direction. I thrive on not knowing what’s going to happen, I love throwing myself into that fear.

Who have been some of your favourite characters to draw and why?

My favourite characters would probably be the ones that are awfully drawn! I’m not great at drawing, so its always nice to pick out the specifics of things ive missed, or details that stick out on the characters face.

I drew a few too many chins on one poor board characters face, but that gave me so many ideas on what type of person they were!

If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?

People can follow me on Facebook at the One Board Man Facebook page, or on Twitter with John Gallagher Portero

What do you think 2018 holds for the world of improv – what would you like to see happen in the next 12 months?

Bristol is becoming a wonderful hub for improv in the UK. The city has changed so much since the Bristol Improv Theatre was built, and Kitchen Rules Theatre was created.

We’ve seen a lot of new groups from all types of styles form and it continues to grow. I guess I would like more people to see improv shows, its an art form that continues to grow and I expect it to get bigger and bigger in 2018.

If you’re a team looking for the next step, I would encourage you to travel, find gigs, and get your group out there. There are many opportunities to perform, most of them do not lead to fame and fortune but they do help you improve and it opens up the doors to a wonderful community.

And Finally – in three words, why should people come and see you on the 22nd April?

For the 22nd? HAROLD TEAM ROCKS!

If you’re asking me three words for a One Board Man show it would be; ONE EXCITING MAN


If you could buy any type of food (right now) what would you buy?

Dominoes Pizza

What is one of the things you would put on your “bucket” list?

Be in a room with a group of adorable puppies

Who do you admire the most and why?

I admire my mother A LOT

Describe your self in 3 words

Spontaneous, over analytical, a romantic.

What is your favorite T.V. channel?

I don’t want TV often, but the last one I watched was ITV2

Favourite animation?

South Park/American Dad

What TV sitcom family would you be a member of?

Parks and Recreation team because THEY ARE family

Last item you purchased?

Bottle of Diet Coke

If you could win any award what would it be, why?

An award for improv? If it exists!

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