My favorite part of this week’s column – besides the fact that it’s a hilarious newer troupe touching brains with one of the most gut-busting mainstay troupes – is the serendipity of the names. If I was only allowed to only to write about troupes whose names start with “GLI,” I’d still be covered!
Glitter Pickle puts on a great, zany show, and you should make plans to see them ASAP. They are composed of Allison Emery, Shana Fields, Susan Baethge, and Jodi Swindle, and describe themselves – accurately – as "four crazy ladies, who aren’t afraid to embarrass themselves or each other."
Glistlefoot? Well, even if you haven’t seen there shows, you’ve probably seen their stickers around DCH. They lead the league in producing those kinds of laughs where you can’t breathe for a few seconds. They are Rich Graham, Dillon Landrum, Michael Bruner, Emily Ball, Amy McGiffin, Darcy Armstrong, and Corey Whaley. Take note of those names and their initials, they will be important in a minute.
Onto the questions and answers!
Glitter Pickle: What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on stage?
RG: That time that everybody was in military school, and we all marched off the stage and into the hallway during a show, leaving 1 person on stage at attention. Or the time we set the audience on fire. Crazy!
CW: For me it's the wildfire scene. During our Ewing run, we had a scene where a fire started spreading across the stage. With very little prompting, we spread it out into the audience and they kept it going!
GP: How do you get past the post-analysis of your performances?
RG: I like the post show discussion, good or bad. It’s fresh in your mind, and everybody (hopefully) is excited. 2-3 4 days later its a distant memory - unless you have a video!
EB: I've noticed that a lot of times I judge the whole show by how I felt about my individual performance, and that's not the point of improv. Sometimes I feel great about a show that someone else hated and vice versa, and maybe someone else had the best show of their lives in a run you didn't personally love, so be careful how you talk about it with each other.
CW: It seems to me that if anyone feels bad about their personal performance a scene, they might mention it when we come offstage. But that quickly turns into everyone pointing out what scenes were fun. I think that keeps things positive.
GP: What are your pre-show prep rituals?
RG: I try not to eat at least 3 hours before a show. And don’t drink alcohol before a show. We have an excellent warm up that’s unique to us, and that gets us in the right space I think.
EB: I'm the opposite of Rich, I have to eat before a show or I have really low energy.
CW: I usually have couple of cups of coffee when I get to DCH. As for the group, when troupe members arrive we'll chat for a while in the lobby, then take it to the green room, where our conversation typically flows right into our warm-up.
GP: How do you work through inter-personal/troupe drama?
DA: Honestly, that's why you have coaches. Filter a lot of things through your coach because improv is a very vulnerable place, not just for you but for everyone. So, when you're feeling hurt you may hurt someone else's feeling so by expressing that. Also, it really helps if you like each other and want to spend time together. Get some meals together, hang out!
RG: I don’t see drama. We all get along really well. OR they all hide it from me really well.
EB: I'm a fairly new addition to the troupe but I don't think we deal with troupe drama much, if at all. In general, it's good to know everyone's boundaries and respect them, and address issues head on instead of letting things simmer.
CW: If it's a significant issue, I agree about taking it to your coach. I've also found that most other potential conflicts can be resolved by truly listening to each other off-stage. I don't mean just giving your fellow troupe members an opportunity to talk, but really listening, acknowledging, and accepting what they're expressing.
GB: Tell us about a time you got a harsh critique and how did you handle it?
CW: One practice when Kyle sub coached for Colten (Winburn, Glistlefoot’s regular coach), he pointed out (and was very direct) about a habit I had of starting scenes with my arms crossed. I was momentarily embarrassed that I was totally unaware of that, but if you just take the note and address the problem, you're much better off and it won't feel so harsh.
EB: More than once I've gotten off the stage feeling really cocky about some line I said that made me feel like a real smarty pants and then Colten's been like "couldn't hear a word you said, Emily". I think you can view criticism as an opportunity to get upset or an opportunity to grow, and your mindset is what makes the difference.
GB: How much did you practice in the beginning of your troupe? How often do you practice now?
CW: We started out with weekly practices, but have been practicing bi-weekly for the last 6-7 months.
GB: When you’re not getting laughs, how or do you adjust your playing to feel like your set is a success?
DA: Focus on making each other laugh, I know I can get Dillon to laugh by making him play a really wild character. I know Rich will start having fun if you give him the gift of an accent. If you're having fun on stage together the audience will have fun.
EB: F*** laughs. Do shows to make your troupe mates laugh and look good on stage, and the laughs will come. We do shows that we love in front of pretty silent audiences sometimes.
GB: How do you get past the moments of self doubt?
DA: Cry? Kyle Austin one time told me there was a time when he felt like no one wanted to improvise with him and I think he was lying to make me feel better, but I still tell it to myself when I'm feeling down because if Kyle can feel bad about his improv, anyone can!
RG: I keep it bottled up and then complain to my family about how great everybody is and nobody likes me and I’m no good at improv anyway. And then I come back because we have rehearsal.
EB: I remember that big name comedians deal with self doubt and imposter syndrome too. Everybody gets down on themselves sometimes, and it's okay to wallow in it for awhile, as long as at the end of your pity party you pick yourself back up and say "No, I'm great, and I'm trying my best. High five to me."
You can catch Glitter Pickle on October 5th at 10PM and Glistlefoot on October 12th at 9PM.
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.