For June we are very excited to be able to go behind the scenes of Cambridge’s oldest Improv troupe, the group is a mixture of university students and members of the community. This month we talk to members of the troupe all about how they prepare for shows, stories from the stage and even get to speak to some of the troupes one on one to find out a bit more about them! This week we are talking to different members of Cambridge Impronauts to find out more about them.
Player Profile – Sophia
Hello Sophia, how long have you been improvising?
Hi I have been improvising since I was 18 so… 6 years. Before that my whole life was scripted, of course.
How did you get into improv?
I did it as part of theatre studies and joined the improv society at Bristol Uni.
What is your favourite style of improv and why?
Longform ! I love that you get to stick to the characters created on stage and develop them. I love watching the story unfold thanks to all the fab ideas of my fellow performers. Incidentally, I also kinda love it when someone rolls with a terrible idea and we have to collectively sort that out.
Who are your top 5 favourite improvisers and why?
I’m not sure about individuals but I love the teams who do Murder She Didn’t Write, Austentatious, and Closer Each Day.
What is your favourite warm up game?
There’s one where the group invents a game without speaking. I like that one because it’s different every time with every group. Also it definitely turns a group of would-be strangers into a cult quicker than most other improv games.
Favourite short form game?
I love “Should Have Said” where the audience can shout ‘should have said’ after any line to make you change it into a better one. I wish someone could do that for me in real life.
What are the three top tips anyone has ever taught you in improv?
I don’t know about improv specifically, but for all performance the best tips I’ve been given are “stay awake, speak up, and just do it.”
These are so basic that I think they apply to achieving anything you want to do!
In improv I think its really important to not be standing on the side of the stage blankly when its someone else’s turn to speak – stay awake and react, since you may just steal the show even if you’re not centre stage
Speak up so everyone can hear your fab jokes and if you have an idea don’t be too afraid to do it – just do it !
I once poured an entire jug of water over someone’s head who wasn’t expecting it so the reaction was genuine. It was maybe the best joke I’ve ever done (since everything else in the show had been mimed up until that point). I did get in trouble with the theatre technicians… but the massive laughs from the audience made it worth it. Shout out to Isaac Sobey who reacted to that jug of water extremely well – and for being the kind of improviser I could trust to be alright with it. Never forgot that scene or you, Isaac !
Admittedly, if you’re going to take risks like that, it’s best done with performers you can trust will react well. Or not – you could take the risk and find out.
In no more than 5 words, what advice would you give them?
Nike’s right just do it
How would you describe your personal sort of improv?
I’d probably be described as a character actor. Also as shown above I’m prone to trying out big ideas which sometimes can be disastrous or sometimes work really well. You don’t know until you try!
I also like to come in as “God” just to see how the other characters will react.
Describe each Cambridge Impronauts member in one word
Each and every one of them can be described as ‘vibrant’: they’re all energetic, imaginative people in their own way… so ‘vibrant’.