It is a new year which means only one thing – lots of new improv !!!! There are so many great improv troupes out there to go and see live. This week however we have sat down with a handful of them and they should be ones that you definitely need to go and see live at some point this year!
Today we speak to a twoprov troupe that have already got lots of shows booked for the new year and even host their own twoprov night! I caught up with Dudes members Ed and Julia to find out all about them!
Hello Julia & Ed tell us all about your improv troupe ?
Julia: We are a duo playing character-driven comedic 1-act plays.
Ed: And we call ourselves Dudes. Both as a team name and in our everyday lives.
How did your troupe come about ?
Ed: I had a gig slot booked with another group, but unfortunately they each dropped out one-by one until it was just me! I am always reluctant to flake or lose performance opportunities, so kept the booking with no plan at all! I told Julia about it and she jumped in, and we had a lot of fun so we kept going! We tried to decide on a name more-or-less on the way there. As an observation that we most often begin our shows with two dudes in conversation, we went for Dudes!
How did you get into improv?
Julia: I had knee surgery (meniscus) five years ago. After that, my previous evening/weekend plans, which were Kung-Fu and rock climbing, fell flat for good. I needed a hobby that I could do with any level of mobility. Once I could walk again, I found myself in an improv group that practiced in someone’s living room. Since the first rehearsal/practice, I have never stopped doing increasingly more of this insanely fun and frustrating art form.
Ed: I was working in film and TV and was feeling a bit burnt out and in a bit of a creative funk. I’m a massive fan of podcasts, especially Comedy Bang Bang (where people improvise and talk about improv A LOT) and took a class with Hoopla to try and get some inspiration for some screenwriting. Then I was hooked…
What are your plans improv wise for 2019?
Julia: We’ve just set up our own show: A 2-prov night we call “Buddy-Up”, and we’d like to make that a regular thing. Also, so far we’ve coached ourselves but we’re looking to get coaches in occasionally. Apart from that: using the phrase “Wrestle me!” much more on stage.
Ed: Yeah! Julia and I can be quite physical performers, and we are just exploring things like macro-scenes and things like fighting. Julia has trained in mime, so that’s really fun and on a personal level there’s so much for me to learn!
What other improv acts are you looking forward to seeing to this year?
Julia: More of Jack Left Town, these massively friendly and talented people. Also, my friend Sean Keoghan has an improvised heist group called Stealing the Show. Can’t wait to see those guys perform! Additionally, I’m looking forward to seeing international groups perform in festivals to be amazed and inspired by the different takes on improv throughout the world.
Ed: Likewise, I always come away from a Jack Left Town show thinking “yeah, that’s how it should be done.” And I’m just looking forward to seeing loads of improv. And there are new groups every day! There’ll be some kind of young upstarts this year that will show me how it’s really done, I reckon.
What styles do you hope to see more of in improv this year?
Julia: I’m a huge narrative nerd.. However, if it’s good, it’s good regardless of the style – I’m an improv omnivore.
Ed: Me too. I’m loving slow burn stuff lately, but having just got back from New York, I definitely enjoyed some of the more premise-based work we saw out there. And I’ve always found a great narrative flourish to a set to be a bit like a magic trick, but it’s SO satisfying!
Do you have any new years resolutions? If so what are they?
Julia: None so far.
Ed: Give myself more permission to Fuck Things Up. I can put pressure on myself to “get it right” sometimes, and I’m reminding myself that it’s okay and fun to get it wrong.
Are you on social media? If so how can people find out more about your troupe?
Julia: We’re on Facebook (Dudesimprov) and Twitter (@Dudesimprov). Hit us up and say hi!
Three words why people should come and see you this year?
Julia & Ed: Wrestle me, dude!
QUICK FIRE ROUND
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Julia: Selmolina with ketchup. I wish I could say it was a drunk-head thing, but that was my breakfast for the first three years of uni.
Ed: Sweetbread. I ordered it, not knowing what it was and thought it was DELICIOUS! And then I found out I was eating brains and I felt so ill.
If you could trade lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?
Julia: If I could trade lives with anyone, it would be an eagle because I would love to have wings to fly through the air without any resistance or machinery (but don’t want to deal with predators etc., hence the bird at the top of the food chain).
If I misinterpreted this question and it asks for a person, I’d like to be the wrestler Ricochet. What he does looks pretty close to flying.
Ed: Wow. Hard to top that. My gut instinct is to say Donald Trump, so then I would spend that day coming clean, apologising, then resigning. As long as I don’t have to spend more time as that gaseous, badly-taxidermied orangutan.
If you could paint anything what would you paint?
Julia: I’d paint the house I’d live in if I was in the Good Place.
Ed: If I don’t have to clean it up? I’d paint the walls in some kind of passionate post expressionist frenzy.
What is the most delightful word you can think of?
Julia: Don’t stop me now (Queen)
Ed: Oh brother… I’m gonna say Heroes by David Bowie
Who is your comedy hero and why?
Julia: Steve Carell because of his amazing poker face and character play.
Ed: So many of them, but I’ll say Simon Pegg. He speaks my language.
What is your favourite movie quote?
Julia: “Und da verstummte das Mädchenpensionat und musste Pipi!“ (Absolute Giganten, a northern German cult movie)
Ed: Having answered this question before, I’m going to give you a different one because I have many:
“Be excellent to each other. And… Party on Dudes” (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)
Who is your favourite cartoon character and why?
Julia: Magica De Spell. She’s a terrible person and a thief but somehow things become much more interesting once she makes an appearance in Duckburg
Ed: No idea. Maybe Merlin The Wizard from Disney’s Sword in the Stone. That movie is too funny.