It is duo’s month and so it is only right that we delve into the world of Twoprov this February. Over the next few weeks we are talking to a variation of improv acts up and down the country to find out the ins and outs of being part of a twoprov troupe. Today I talk to an improv act that are not just sisters, but they are Twins! I caught up with Twinprov act Julie and Sarah to find out all about being in a group together and whether it really is double trouble!
Hello tell us all about who you all are and a little bit about yourselves?
We’re a duo of super-eager improv geeks from Kent, who perform extensively (with Classic Andy, Gym Pass, Improbotics, City Impro and Plus Support amongst others!).
What style of Improv do you do?
Playful, sometimes fairly abstract monoscenes! We are also VERY proud to have recently invented Bassoonprov; basically that plus a classically trained bassoonist improviser – the lovely and talented Martin Clarke!
What sort of suggestions do you ask the audience for in your show?
We generally just ask for a single word to scene paint/work bassoon magic from!!
What is the best thing about being in a twoprov?
The sense of support and delight that comes from a really connected show! Also the practicalities are far simpler – living room rehearsals and quicker show admin!
What is the most challenging?
S – sometimes if I’m looking straight ahead I genuinely don’t see Julie in front of me! Also a challenge is sustaining energy when there’s just two of you on stage for a whole set – there’s absolutely no downtime! But that’s also what I love!!
J – knowing our own preferred playing styles, which are quite different, and using it as a positive…so hopefully surreal connectivity or ordinary extraordinary is what we end up with!
What will makes you different to other twoprov acts out there?
The mix of connected but sometimes abstract scenes! And the matching dresses…
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting an twoprov troupe themselves?
Go for it! It’s a fairly unique form and a steep learning curve that is hugely delightful to experience! Also obviously see as many other twoprov acts as possible – there’s some brilliant variety and approaches out there! Try and do some training together; we’re very excited to be taking a due class with the wonderful Jason Schotts from Dummy at the Edinburgh International Improv Festival this month.
What have been some of your specifically favourite scenes you have created so far in a show and why?
S – I particularly loved one of our Edinburgh shows this year, when I ended up playing Chris Akabusi but didn’t actually really know who he was. There’s real joy in just going with it and being so supported by Julie, and the audience response was great!
J – We did a show at Canterbury’s Gulbenkian Theatre Studio which could have been subtitled ‘love and loneliness in a hairdresser’s’ and it featured some very fun ‘games within games’, including a number of increasingly disturbing local shopkeepers.
What other twoprov groups are you a fan of and why?
S – I was blown away seeing Patti Styles and Joe Bill at Mount Olymprov a few years ago, and also really love Beings, and am excited to see Dummy at Edinburgh Improv Festival!
J – Ditto what my twin said. I was lucky enough to see Dummy in LA last year so I know they’re amazing!
Tell us about the sort of rehearsals you do to get ready for a show?
They involve a nice cup of tea and some ’twinmin’ with our diaries. And then it’s clear the living room, pick a word and get involved. We get very absorbed. The neighbours sometimes think something terrible is going on!
Do you have any pre show rituals – if so what are they?
A bit of a check in, lots of stretching and energisers, then usually the uniquely bonding experience of struggling in to our matching dresses in a tiny toilet! And Sarah forces me to wear bright red lip gloss, which I hate. So I always complain a bit and try to avoid it but she looms over me in a fairly menacing fashion.
What are your aims for your troupe for the improv in 2019?
Just to keep working together and having fun, with plans to expand our work with women’s organisations (we have a show coming up for International Women’s Day) and Edinburgh Fringe again!
It’s the month of looooovveeeee so what things do you love about improv and why?
The freedom, childlike ridiculousness and pure joy!
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
On Facebook @twinprovimprov
In three words why should people come and see you perform?
Disturbing visual spectacle
DUO QUICK FIRE SPECIAL
What is your favourite thing about one another?
S – Julie’s RELENTLESS cheerfulness! It’s a super power! She’s also an incredibly kind, positive and hilarious scene partner!
J – Most people call that being ‘annoyingly cheerful’! I love Sarah’s commitment to the craft and the way she brings in her expertise as a drama lecturer and playwright; she’s an epic storyteller.
What is the thing that the other would go viral for?
S – definitely the above!
J – looming over me in a matching dress!
You have £50 in your pocket to buy the other a present – what would you get them and why?
S – this is SO hard, because julie has already given me the BEST Xmas present that I could ever have; a fridge magnet of us performing together which she swears was nicely framed, but when it arrived my head was completely cut off due to our massive height difference. It’s hilarious, so I reckon I’d get her the opposite of that, and remove her lower body in magnet form?!
J – a framed poster-sized version of the fridge magnet photo
If you had to release a duet – what would the song be and why?
A reworking of ‘Sisters’ for obvious reasons!
The toughest question of all – last rolo – would you keep it or give it to your twoprov buddy?
S – I’d ‘share’ it but make sure that I got the ‘taller’ half!
J – And I’d be happy with the shorter bit.