This Weekend, The BIT is very excited to welcome two of our favourite improvisers.
Kaci Beeler and Curtis Luciani are The Amazon & The Milksop, a fearsome comedy duo bringing together experience from the world of Theatre, Sketch Comedy, and some of the most delightfully weird Improv we've ever seen.
But first, here's what happened when we had a chance to chat…
What brings you down to The BIT this weekend?
Kaci: My history with The BIT/Bristol Improv goes back a ways.
I first met Andy Yeoh and many of his compatriots in Edinburgh in 2011 when my quartet Parallelogramophonograph was performing our improvised plays at the Fringe. We had several delightful chats, especially about the nature of improvised theatre (vs. improv comedy) both in person and then later online.
When PGraph came to London in 2012, we taught a narrative intensive that Andy took, and also popped over to Bristol for a day to work with the Bristol University group (which are some of the very same people who went on this make this exciting new theater!). Oh my God you guys were so adorable and fun. We loved working with you, even for just a flash.
PGraph came and taught our narrative intensive in Bristol (in the building that would become the official BIT) in 2015 and that was badass (and also I broke a toe on-stage and then was on crutches for the rest of my trip! [FREE crutches, I might add, thank you English Queen Healthcare, you're still better than American Bro Healthcare x10, though, Heather Urquhart of The Maydays did steal them back to the UK when she broke her ankle in Austin the next year. Where will these crutches go next?!]).
The improvisers in Bristol are so welcoming, friendly, and very committed to taking improvised theatre to the next level. We love the dedication and passion we're seeing come out of The BIT. It's so damn exciting.
So… Andy came to the Improvised Play Festival last year (2016) at The Hideout Theatre in Austin (our home base) and saw Curtis and I's performance of our newest improvised work, The Reason, and adamantly told us we should come do it at the new BIT once it opened. And I quote, "You must come! People will love this. It's so weird and unlike anything they've seen in the U.K."
OK, dude, we're coming! We're calling your bluff!
Curtis: Personally, I had not heard of "England" prior to planning this trip, but I am looking forward to whatever happens there.
What can we expect from your workshop, the fantastically titled 'How To Improvise Like A Real American A*hole', this Thursday evening?
Curtis: Loud, brash vulgarity… sort of. We tend to work a pretty bold and aggressive style in our shows, which we can (usually) succeed in getting over with the audience because we've spent a long time learning to trust ourselves and each other, play with extremes, and embrace our fears.
Kaci: As artists in a country that doesn't exactly embrace independent arts, you've got to be bold and confident. Both inside and outside of the work.
Not only have I found it extremely freeing and delightful to play in this way, but the trust that has grown between Curtis and I as fellow artists has been astounding to me. We hope to bring some of that spark to our workshop participants. We are going to push you but it will also be a ton of fun.
What can we expect from your show (The Reason), this Friday evening?
Curtis: The Reason is a product of a year when we were particularly interested in Scientology, a home-grown American pseudo-scientific pseudo-religion.
It's a show about grueling mind games disguised as healing, I think? Which makes it sound quite grave, but it's really very goofy.
Kaci: It's very committed hijinks, I should say. There is no fourth wall, but we're both playing two abnormally intense characters. I would say to come into it with an open mind and see where it takes you. It's very different than any show we've done in the past and we're excited to share it.
What's ACE about the UK?
Kaci: Curtis, that's an expression that means "cool" or "awesome" that British people use.
Curtis: I see. Hmmm.
Well, the English language is pretty ace, right? Shakespeare, Austen, Daily Mirror headlines…. And British comedy has been a huge influence on me as a performer, as it is has been for many maladjusted American youths–and vice versa, I presume.
And you've got the NHS, which is a good thing. I hope to become ill or injured during this trip so I can sample its offerings.
What's your deal?
Curtis: I'm basically just a real cool guy who likes good times, good friends, and a cold beer, but also, in addition to that, is anxious and neurotic.
Kaci: Curtis is also a brilliant writer and performer, and a very lovely human being. I'm a lady who makes a lot of art and theatre all the time, who is often described as "intense…[long awkward pause]…but in a good way".
I also recently found out from my doctor that I'm deficient in Iron and Vitamin D! So I'm hoping to get a lot of sun on our visit.
Thanks Kaci, Curtis. See you soon!