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 – Cian
Hello Cian, how long have you been improvising?
About 6-ish months (give or take an -ish), and I’ve been a member of the Cambridge Impronauts for 4 and a half of those!
How did you get into improv?
I studied dramatic theatre for a bit before coming to University (scripts and everything!), but improv warm-ups were often what I’d most look forward to. At Cambridge I got a chance to see an Impronauts show (the uproarious Impro-Geddon) and thought, “that looks fun, particularly as Armageddons go”, and – in typical student style – proceeded to do nothing about my reinvigorated improv passion for two terms, until I finally started Impronauts open workshops last October.
What is your favourite style of improv and why?
All of them! Any and all styles can be a proverbial blast at the right time with the right troupe. It’s the people, the atmosphere and the energy that makes for fun improv!
What is your favourite warm-up game?
“Gaston”. It has to be. No game’s great as “Gaston”, or first-rate as “Gaston”, or so easily makes one irate like “Gaston”.
Favourite short form game?
Change/Switch! One tends to run out of ideas in the first half minute, and then that’s where things get properly fun.
What are the three top tips anyone has ever taught you in improv?
1. Listen. Don’t let the actual words of other players drift off into the sunset while you stand there concocting your hypothetical next line.
2. Leave your comfort zone and it might be funnier for everyone, perhaps even you.
3. For God’s sake (and the audience’s), know when to end the scene!
In no more than 5 words, what advice would you give them?
You’ll look ridiculous. Embrace it.
How would you describe your personal sort of improv?
I gravitate towards less-dominant roles in scenes because my best comedy seems to be of a “response” kind rather than a “leading” kind, but I’m trying to leave that comfort zone. I’m also a lifelong fan of the one-liner. A ‘fan’, because I think we often slip into verbosity while improvising as a self-defence mechanism and so a one-liner can really make a difference. ‘Lifelong’ because I’d probably wait my entire life to find the perfect one-liner opportunity in a scene.
Describe each Cambridge Impronaut member in one word.
Kind. Resourceful. Inspiring. Confident. Stylish. Unflappable. Indefatigable. Dependable. Subtle. Generous. Cool-headed. Witty. Versatile. Surreal. I could attach each of those words to a member’s name, but that would just take all the fun out of it.