Field Day

DCF2015: Troupes Are Groups of Friends

Cupcake I was Dallas Comedy House’s (DCH) backstage hospitality coordinator for the Dallas Comedy Festival on Friday night. My job was to make sure performers knew where to go, when to go there, and to make sure all of their performance and personal needs were met (performers gotta drink and eat chips too, y’all). For seven hours, I greeted a lot of people, ushered a lot of troupes through the training center rooms where they waited their turn to perform, and ate a lot of cold, backstage pizza.

I volunteered to be a hospitality coordinator because I wanted to meet new people and to help make people feel comfortable before their shows. For out-of-towners, I wanted them feel at home among a large group of performers that already feel at home at DCH. Something that is special about the Dallas Comedy Festival as opposed to others is that a large portion of the performers already feel completely at home in the performance space. Many troupes that strolled through the training center halls already knew the code into the center. They knew where the bathroom was and at what time they should start making their way toward the green room, just behind the stage, to be ready to perform. I wanted to make sure performers from out of town could navigate a script many of us already knew with the same ease. I wanted them to feel as at home at DCH as those who perform there several times per week and know where to move out of the way when someone yells “hanger up!” and starts tossing hangars at a ceiling.

But from what I could tell, I wasn’t an integral part of reaching that comfort level…at all. The troupes filled with faces that were unfamiliar to me didn’t need to feel at home between the DCH walls, because they already seemed at home with each other. Although everyone seemed appreciative of me telling them where to find bags of chips or where to wait to perform, they didn’t need to know that information to feel at ease. They just needed to be with their troupe.

Field Day

Field Day from Austin, Texas, seemed at home when a troupe member shouted “Crouch!” and everyone immediately popped their bodies into the same yoga position. The Night Rhymers from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, seemed most at ease when they were all warming up their vocal chords by singing some smooth, seamless melodies together. Toward the end of the night, when the final members of the UCB troupe Bangarang! from Los Angeles arrived at DCH, seemingly tired from a long journey to Dallas, the rest of the troupe was ready with warm greetings and offerings of beer and wine. That warmth was received with equal levels of gratification.

It was reminder that people that perform as a group formed together and stayed together largely because of personal connections to each other. Whether those friends form together to make a new troupe like Dallas’s Duck Duck Pants or Chicago’s veterans, TJ & Dave, these were just groups of friends who loved each other who and happened to channel that love into playing pretend on a stage. My stomach is a little larger from eating too much cold, backstage pizza, but my heart is a little warmer after seeing 12 different, little families of people show so much love for each other through support and laughter backstage. I hope none of you ever stop performing, but if you do, it’s comforting to know you still have your family to support you and laugh with you no matter what you’re doing.

Shannon?

Amanda Hahn is a DCH graduate and performer who regularly performs in the troupe Dairy Based.

(Images: Jason Hensel)

DCF2015: Field Day

Field Day It’s here! The Dallas Comedy Festival is here! Which means all of our out-of-town groups are here! Or on their way here!

AND since we are talking so much about HERE, HERE is one more group for you to get to know a little better before you see them on stage at the festival!

Meet Field Day, a team of four from beautiful Austin, Texas.

Selfishly, I’m using these interviews as a way to live out my never fulfilled dream as a traveling reporter. So far, I’ve been to Little Beach in Maui, a tiny studio apartment in Austin, and the Chez Amelia Bedelia. That being said—and since this interview is obviously taking place in person and somewhere interesting—where are we and name five things that you see?

We see a homeless person, a building that looks like stairs, a dude with headphones in his ears working on comic books, Congress Avenue is blocked off, and the Capitol of Texas!

Cool spot. Just because it’s fun, if you guys were a 1990s pop group or sitcom, who would you be?

We would be Seinfeld. Our troupe member, Chris, would be Kramer (because he's the loud one), Judith would be George (because she's the most neurotic), David would be Elaine (because he's the most negative), and Lindsay would be Jerry (because she's more stable than the rest of us).

But since you’re not called Seinfeld, you're called Field Day. Tell us where you got the name and how you came together.

We locked ourselves in a room for 40... minutes to figure out a name, and having a "Field Day" sounded like a lot of fun. Hence the name! We all met through the Hideout Theater in Austin.

Go in order around the circle, and say something you like about the person to your right.

David says Chris is loving, charismatic, and committed. Chris says Judith is brave, honest, and caring. Judith says Lindsay is electrifying, supportive, and beautiful. Lindsay says David is solid, chic, and brilliant.

Now that we are in sentimental mode, how do you think improv is relevant to day-to-day life?

It isn't. Do other improvisors know something that we don't?!

Guess you’ll find out when you get here? Speaking of, we are looking forward to welcoming you to Dallas! Anything important that we should know about you guys before we do?

We wear denim!

Field Day performs Friday, March 27, at 6 p.m. with Pure & Weary and David & Terry. Tickets are on sale now.

Tori Oman is a level three student at DCH. She’s trained and performed with the Second City and iO in L.A. and Chicago. Favorite pastimes include being irrationally competitive at Monopoly, eating an apple in every country she’s traveled to, and being the sole person on this planet that thinks Necco Wafers are a delicious candy choice.