This month I chatted to over 30 female improvisers from all over the UK to celebrate the talent that we have – we also discuss some of the important debates surrounding this topic as well. Today I talk to an improviser that performs regularly around London with teams ‘C3?’ And my two prob team ‘Authentic Dylan’ – Megan Harrison
Hello There! Tell us who you are and three random facts about yourself!
1. I have lived in three separate continents.
2. I play the trumpet.
3. There is an article about me and my siblings called ‘The Week I Decided to get a Vasectomy’.
How did you get into improv?
I was at acting school in New York and I was doing an exercise where we improvise the moments before the scene we were assigned (as it wasn’t in the script). Afterwards I spoke to my teacher about how much I loved the exercise and how I wish I could do more exercises like it. He told me about how improv was not just an acting exercise, how there were schools where you could solely learn improv, my mind was blown and I have been improvising ever since.
What troupes are you are a part of?
Previously: ‘Smooch’, ‘The Birthday Bitches’, ‘Young Pope’.
Currently: ‘C3?’, ‘Authentic Dylan’.
Tell us about the styles of improv you enjoy and why?
I love pretty much any long form style of improv. I particularly enjoy trialing new forms at the moment, as I love seeing the joy in a persons face when they see an idea that they had come alive.
What have been some of your favorite things you have done on stage?
3 moments spring to mind:
1. My c3? Were doing a scene where we were all trying to be ‘sexy’. I decided to straddle two Chairs, although I overestimated me flexibility and I ended up doing the splits and getting stuck on the chairs. I could get off them, as my feet couldn’t touch the ground. I expressed to my scene partners and my team came together and lifted me off the chairs. As soon as I was unstuck Keith Malda placed a third chair next to the other two and gestured for me to do it again. Expert heightening.
2. Again during a show with ‘c3?’, performing ‘Evangelical cats’, which was a cross between ‘Cats’, ‘Jesus Chris Superstar’ and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.
3. During a class show, after learning ‘The Movie’ with John Timothy from UCB. We were doing a karate kid esc movie and I was playing the antagonist/villain kid from the other karate school and I was taking steroids to make sure I would we. We did a montage sequence we I kept getting stronger, progressively bending harder and harder things and on the final thing I shouted ‘That wasn’t even as hard as my dick’.
What have been some of your favorite things your teammates have done onstage?
I love my teammates and I think maybe too many moments spring to mind, but in general:
1. Keith Malda or any other teammate playing Keith Malda.
2. Anything that comes out of my fabulous two-prov partner Lila’s mouth.
For new improvisers, what would your key bit of advice be?
1. “It is better to fail miserably than to succeed hesitantly”.
Whatever you are doing in a scene it will always 10 times better if you really commit to the idea.
2. “Listen like a thief”, Also “The answer is in your scene partners eyes”. You and your scene partner are building a scene together, so as long as you really listen and watch to everything they do, you can’t really go wrong.
3. Go and see as much improv as possible. You’ll see some great things, where you will find inspiration and possible ideas for your own show, and you will see some not so great things, where you will learn what you do not want to do, but you will only know once you see it for yourself.
4. MOST IMPORTANTLY have fun! The audience can tell if you are having a good time or not and, at the end of the day, you are never going to do that set ever again, so fuck it!
What are three things you want to focus on this season with your own improv?
I want to focus on truly following the fun, wherever it may take us, hyper-listening, and making bolder choices at the top of the scene.