From The Sidelines: Five Questions with Kristen Schier

Kristen Schier is the Co-Artistic Director of The Philly N Crowd, which performs weekly shows at The Actor’s Center. Before coming to PHIT she taught improv for Delaware Theater Company and The Actor’s Center.

She has a B.F.A. in Theater Arts from the University of the Arts and has been working in Philly as a professional actor, improvisor and teacher for several years. As a core ensemble member of Vagabond Acting Troupe she has appeared in many productions including the originally created Art of War, which received a Barrymore Nomination for Outstanding Ensemble.

Kristen has taken workshops with such improv notables as Jill Bernard and many members of the UCB Theatre in New York City.

What is your approach to improv?

Character character character . . . did i mention character? I like VAPAPO as a way to surprise yourself and change things up.

Is there anything in particular that you find informs or inspires your scenework?

I am big on vocal choices – and physical choices – I am always the one who pulls out a chair in the scene so i am not standing up all the time and of course CLOWNING – the work of Bill Erwin, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin my advice: make  a BIG character choice, then play it for all its worth.

Are there any pre-show warmups or rituals that you do?

I like to vocalize, sing, and and strech out. I often do face warm ups when no one is looking. I like to play emotinal zip zap zop.

What is something that’s proven to be a significant challenge in improving your work?

Listening and contextuallizing a scene (fortunately others in the n crowd are good at this). I am unapologetically narcissitic so I tend to miss some offers cause I am super invovled in myself and I have trouble putting characters in a place where they would be super funny.

What advice would you give to those who are new to improv?

Avoid the i can’t do that or i am bad at improv thinking it takes a while and be ok with that – also avoid the I’ll never be THAT good do a lot of improv – take big risks and have fun read everything you can get your hands and go see improv.
Say yes to your own offers.

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2 Responses to From The Sidelines: Five Questions with Kristen Schier

  1. Celiasr says:

    i am gonna show this to my friend, bro

  2. Kristen Schier says:

    I might ammend this now.

    besides all the grammar mistakes i have had somewhat of a philosophical shift too.

    playing truthfully has become very improtant to me. commiting to playing realistically necessitates bravery and more risk than you might think initially.

    i think it is important to play truthfully because then you have something real and grounded to play if there aren’t “funny things” happening.

    focusing out and not on your ego is also important. if your up there just to make a joke then be a stand up.

    you are hopefullly up there to make good theater.

    cool.

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