Since we last featured a duo asking another duo questions for New Troupe/Old Troupe, I’ve heard from two billion people – a little less than a third of the world’s population – asking for MORE duos for this column.
So here it is! Rita & Ahmed are a self-described fun, energetic duo that recently came together and consists of, you guessed it, Rita Shepherd and Ahmed al-Kadri. Besides their energy and talent, I also enjoy the picture Ahmed submitted for this piece. He is, for all intents and purposes, shirtless. If you got it, flaunt it – and if you don’t got it, still flaunt it because that can be funny and body-positive.
They asked their questions of Small Town, which is none other than the DCH's new parents, Kyle Austin and Maggie Reith Austin. They’re mixing it up by wearing opaque shirts.
Rita & Ahmed: Why the name Small Town?
Small Town: We like to make up stupid songs about things like going to the grocery store or hiding things in secret hiding places. One of our favorite made-up songs is about growing up in a small town. So, when we decided to do a two person show, we used that name.
R&A: What is the most interesting suggestion you guys were ever given?
ST: We got "prom" for the first five or six shows, when we just asked for a big event in a small town. That helped up change up how we got suggestions. Now we ask to talk to someone from a small town and our suggestions are all much more interesting.
R&A: We noticed some shows have been Monoscenes and some shows had multiple scenes along with character popping. Do you guys normally decide what format you are going to do before the show starts or you just go with flow and see where the scene takes you?
ST: Whatever happens happens! Maggie prefers monoscenes because sometimes, when we hop from scene to scene, we get stuck in a very linear narrative, like "okay and now let's go solve this problem." But, sometimes you just gotta pop out and mix things up. Follow your heart. Live your life.
R&A: Any advice for performers starting out there first 2 person troupe?
ST: From Kyle: Practice for 6 months before you do anything. Before your first practice, just turn the lights up and play to see how it all shakes out. From Maggie: Have fun and trust each other. And, to echo Kyle, don't try to force a format. With just two people, make sure your format serves your skill sets.
R&A: If you can improvise with any celebrity who would it be?
ST: Kyle: Maggie Rieth Austin. Or Bill Murray. Maggie: Kyle Austin. Or Amy Poehler.
Kevin Beane graduated from the DCH improv program in 2016 and is in the DCH troupe Preschool Fight Club. He also cohosts Quizprov, and performs in the Dallas-area troupe Autocomplete. He likes sports, eating, sleeping, board games, poker, euchre, and procrastinating. He hails from Akron, Ohio.