Troupe Talk: Wilma!!!

Wilma When you hear the name Wilma, you probably hear Fred Flintstone wailing for his red-headed wife dressed in cave woman white. But Wilma!!! is more than that. Wilma!!! is also a mighty crowd of seven at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH), and they are this week’s feature for Troupe Talk. I sat down with a few of their personal heroes to witness some political cameos, hear about the troupe’s Friday night, opening performance and talk about, well, something about plants (which only Stephanie remembers).

This is a magical interview where you all get to bring a person you’ve been dying to meet. Who did each of you bring? Jessica: Whoever taught Jerrell how to dance. Andrea: Dying to meet or EAT? I heard eat. Um, probably the character Mercedes in the movie License to Drive. OMG, lol, is that Heather Graham? Totally is. I didn't realize she was my eating crush until now. Shiloh: Rihanna. Not because I love her, but because I want to witness the first Jerrell/Rihanna encounter. Jerrell: Hot Nick Jonas. Steph: I really want Kristen Wiig to like me, and in my mind we are already friends. So I would invite her. I think she would automatically make my answers better and we would mostly communicate through eye contact. Bryan: Robert Downey, Jr. We'd both dance around serious questions armed with nothing more than our sarcastic wit and crooked smirks. That's how you get America to love you. Insert crooked smile followed by gun fingers. Sophia: Hugh Jackman. Seriously, is there anything this man can't do? He can sing, he can dance, he can act, he can host, he's a wonderful family man. He speaks in a gorgeous Australian accent. Oh yeah, and he's WOLVERINE. *snikt

So, spill it. Who’s got the big, fat crush on Fred Flintstone’s wife? Why Wilma for your name? Jessica: Who doesn't have a crush on Wilma!? What a babe, right? Also, I have no idea how we got our name anymore. Something about plants, I think. Andrea: Something that our plant nerd, Stephanie, came up with. Our God-given name was Chartreuse when we made Ewing, which surprisingly, the meaning of that word is not when you make a deal with your poop to stop surprising you in office meetings and parties. It's actually a shade of green. And then Stephanie told us some other meaning, which she told us all about 500 times and we all forgot. And Wilma derived from that. Right Steph? Shiloh: I've secretly always wanted to name a kid Pebbles. Jerrell: Wilma's a wonderful woman, one of the few cartoons to kill in a white dress. Yeah, I think it was something about a plant? A cactus? That's the only plant I know. Steph: Yes, it is derived from Cupressus macrocarpa "Wilma Goldcrest" Golden Monterey Cypress. It holds a mostly chartreuse hue through much of the growing season. Therefore, Wilma Goldcrest, then just Wilma, and here we are. I love plants!!! Bryan: I received a chain of about 13 emails already filled with troupe name suggestions. The last one said Wilma. I thought it had a ring to it, and everyone else seem to fancy it as well. Who knows what we might be named had I not contributed. Sophia: Well, it all started when I suggested the name "Key Lime Pie" for our troupe name. The rest is history...(Translation: I don't think anybody besides Stephanie knows).

Soooo, Stephanie loves plants. Got it. Hey, you guys are playing the opening night at the new DCH theatre. Pretty cool. How does that feel? Jessica: It kind of feels like when that really cute guy finally asks you out, but you want to throw up before your date because you're so excited and terrified. I'm assuming it feels like that. Glad there are extra bathrooms! Andrea: Um- amazing?!? Feels like when you were little and you had a friend over and you are playing together with a Magic 8 Ball and your friend asks it a question like, "When will I get married?!" and you shake it and instead of turning it over to read it you hit her in the head with it and it knocks her out and you freak out a little. Well a lot, because you don't know when you will see her again (similair to DCH closing for a few weeks due to the move and renovations) but THEN you realize that she has no family, and you are her only friend, and no one will ever know if you eat her, so it's like totally amazing. #firstflesh. Thats what it feels like. Sorry, I've never been interviewed before. Am I saying too much? I don't know what that shoulder shrug means. I feel stupid now. Jessica: Andrea, you are not stupid at all. You're doing great. Andrea: Mahhh, thanks Jess! You always make me feel better. *the two of them hug* Shiloh: I feel like Cady from Mean Girls after she wins Spring Fling Queen. It's pretty cool to get to stand on that stage first, but I really want to share it with everyone. Jerrell: I'm still trying to process it. It's like when you watch a really good episode of TV, specifically "Hitting the Fan" from The Good Wife, and at the end you're just speechless because you've just experienced too many emotions. It feels insane. It feels just like that Good Wife episode. Everyone watch that Good Wife episode. Steph: I feel very honored and extremely appreciative. I have only been working at improv professionally for about a year and half. I've met the MOST amazing people (like everyone in this troupe). I feel incredibly excited, I can't wait...I've been telling everyone that thinks I'm sort of cool to come to this show! Again, just honored to be a part of such a great business, theater, group of people, whatever we want to call it. It's amazing! Bryan: It feels pretty great, actually. It makes me pretty proud to be associated with this troupe. I, for one, know that I am not worthy of such a time slot, but fortunately I've been grouped up with six others who definitely are. I've never laughed harder than when we've been in rehearsals. Well, maybe I've released a couple of heartier chuckles from the sidelines at shows. You know what it must feel like actually, like that first time you're able to sustain a hula-hoop around your waist for more than 15 seconds at a time. Then you get to take that hula-hoop and spike it on the ground and look your peers in the eyes and say, "Hey look I did it! We're equals now!" I've been averaging eight seconds for the past six months now. God, I bet it's a great feeling. Sophia: Pretty surreal. I'm not going to spoil it for anybody, but you remember that scene from Game of Thrones where the person does that crazy thing that happens, and then you're like, "OMG, did that just happen?! Did we really just see that?" Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Well, it was just like that. Valor Morghulis.

OK, so speaking of improv, how do you think it could make the world a better place? Jessica: People would learn to listen and support each other unconditionally. The world would learn to embrace its weird side and just go for it. There would probably (definitely) be more hugging. Andrea: Improv is wonderful for the human mind on so many levels when you are doing it regularly. It completely improves emotional intelligence and emotional resilience for people. It literally changes your brain chemistry and releases amazing chemicals in your body and mind. If everyone got to have that experience multiple times a week, the world would 100 percent be a better place. People would be a lot happier, more loving, and appreciative of one another and themselves, be able to live in the moment, and, most importantly, not take themselves so seriously. Improv is therapy. Really good therapy. Shiloh: It already is! The idea that we can do and be whatever we want is so liberating. Everyone should get to feel that kind of support. Jerrell: I second Jessica completely. Everyone should take improv, it will change their lives. And more hugs! Steph: Oh Yea, Jessica hit it on the nail tip! That is so true! Supporting people all the time, no matter what. Support by physically being there, trusting they will support you, by listening and not judging. Wouldn't it all be a lovely place if we all followed the improv "rules?" Bryan: It already has in so many ways. I have to agree with Andrea. Improv is very therapeutic, at least certainly for me. I'm a pretty naturally introverted person. Improv allows me to break out of my shell and express myself in ways that would be deemed rather odd in most other settings. I'm referring mostly to my character and voice work, which might still come across as pretty weird now that I think about it. Sophia: We currently live in a very polarizing, vitriolic political climate; if unchanged, I think it will become destructive to our democracy. Imagine the possibilities if our legislators and leaders would embrace the principles of improv. This is how I kind of envision it going in my head: Senator Elizabeth Warren: "We need to raise the minimum wage." (bold initiation) Senate Leader Mitch McConnell: "Yes, and while we're at it, we should fix our broken immigration system, too." (agreement) Senator Bernie Sanders: "Well, if we're fixing immigration, we have to make sure that our public education system is robust enough to meet the needs of an rapidly changing 21st-century workforce." (agreement and heightening) And then the nine Supreme Court Justices perform a full Harold.

Before you say goodbye to your person you’ve been dying to meet, tell them something special. Jessica: Thank you for everything. Please teach me how to dance. Andrea: I'd whisper softly: I'm going to eat you, shhhhhh. Shiloh: Kiss Jerrell. Jerrell: Kiss me. Steph: Please call me so we can hang out again soon!!! Bryan: I want to be you, give me your skin. JK JK, I meant career. My upholstery work is terrible. Sophia: Thank you for everything. Please teach Bryan how to dance. Excelsior!!

Wilma!!! performs at DCH on May 1 (9 p.m.), May 23 (10:30 p.m.), June 12 (7:30 p.m.), and June 20 (9 p.m.).

Tori Oman is a level four 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.