From one new “weird kind of Armando” troupe (according to Ryan Rousseau) to…well, I don’t want to call them a “normal” Armando troupe, this week’s New Troupe/Old Troupe features Pit Bull Mentality asking questions of Photobomb.
Pit Bull Mentality approaches improv with “with fierce and relentless determination.” They consist of Rousseau, Sara Aisenberg, Lindsay Lintelman, Mack McCullough, Amy McGiffin.
Photobomb is Maggie Rieth Austin, Daniel Matthews, Ben Pfeiffer, Sarah Adams, Emily Gee, and Colten Winburn. You’ve probably been coached or taught by several of them.
Onto the questions!
Pit Bull Mentality: What's the most memorable audience interview you've done?
Ben: A few years ago, we interviewed a nice couple who were getting married and we gave them Photobomb t-shirts after the show because that’s a thing we did at the time. I saw them randomly the next day at the grocery store and they were both wearing the Photobomb t-shirts and holding hands. I’ve never seen another PB shirt out in public to this day.
Sarah: What's the most memorable audience interview you've done?: At one show we interviewed a wrestler, I was very excited about it, but I think I was the only one, I mean, he was a PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER.
PBM: Do you have any tips or tricks on pulling information from the interview to use in the show?
Maggie: Pay attention as if it's a conversation you're having with a friend. Sometimes the pressure of "I have to find something funny" makes it harder than if you're just genuinely listening.
Ben: If I’m on stage and another Bomber is doing the interview, I pull out items during the interview that stick out and catalogue them using one word. For example, during our last show we had a girl who planned her own birthday party. That’s a fun element so when I hear something that is fun I just say the word quickly in my head “self birthday” and continue to listen. Hopefully, I have several words/ideas that I can use in our scenes after the interview.
PBM: Do you have any tips or tricks that you use for creating your characters?
Sarah: I try to get as creative and have as much fun with the characters I present - you're not confined to any sort of expectation so it's always enjoyable for me to explore what the idea I'm presenting might physically look and sound like.
Daniel: Bold and Big. Remember that a character is more than a silly voice/accent, or a strange way of walking. Try to discover all of the facets of your character and play them big.
PBM: What has been your secret for staying together for so long?
Maggie: You gotta ride those waves of ups and downs - good shows and bad shows, people moving away, feelings being hurt - in the end, you'll be a better team by sticking it out.
Ben: I think just being committed to each other through the good times and the subpar times as well. I believe a troupe is like a relationship and it is not always going to be fun and easy but if the commitment level is there you are probably a stronger unit in the long term.
Sarah: Commitment is key, and understanding you'll have highs and lows and just enjoying both equally. Oh, and a blood pact.
Daniel: Be open and honest with eachother when you're having a rough time. Having a tough time in your personal life? Tell your troupe so that they know it might creep into your show. We've had a couple of coaching sessions that basically turned into mini-therapy sessions where we just bared our feelings to eachother and we were then able to move on. Be honest, Be open, Be friends.
PBM: What is Photobomb's favorite non-improv way to make memories together?
Maggie: Before shows we usually go around and share something that happened from the previous week. Sometimes it's really big news, other times it's eating Fadi’s.
Sarah: We tend to share something new/exciting that has happened to us on a personal level before each show - big things like eating a Fadi’s.
PBM: Which of you have the biggest Pit Bull Mentality?
Sarah: If we are talking about the singing Daniel - simply because he would do the best impression. Dog-wise, Ben, because he would do the best impression.
Daniel: Definitely Colten. At first glance, you might think that he was raised by someone of ill repute to fight other Coltens, but he's actually very sweet and nice to be around.
You can catch Photobomb on Friday, November 3rd at 9PM! Look for Pit Bull Mentality to hit the stage in the new year!
Kevin Beane graduated from the DCH improv program in 2016 and is in the DCH troupe Preschool Fight Club. He also cohosts Quizprov, with occasional DCH shows, and performs in the Dallas-area troupe Autocomplete. He likes sports, eating, sleeping, board games, poker, euchre, and procrastinating. He hails from Akron, Ohio.