In this blog, we spoke to Jennifer Jordan of Impromptu Shakespeare and The Maydays (just to name a couple) about her upcoming guest performance in this Sunday’s Dirty Picnic Club.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself as an improviser, what’s your background and who do you perform with?
Well I trained at Bretton Hall as an actor, and did a little improv there but it was always as a tool rather than something in its own right. I remember though that I’ve always been interested in the role of spontaneity in theatre and my final year directing piece explored this through cue-scripting (like Shakespeare used to do – but I got some writers to create an original parody to make sure the actors didn’t cheat). So I guess I’ve always been interested in improv but didn’t know it until I took workshops (which inevitably led to courses and shows) with Vancouver Theatre Sports League.
Despite clearly being interested in improv and spontaneous theatre, I always thought I was bad at it and not funny so I took these classes to challenge myself. It soon blossomed into love. I joined all the improv groups & courses I could whilst I was living in Vancouver, soaking in all the different styles. It’s a thriving scene out there but mostly short-form…I remember the first time I saw a genre narrative show and it blew my mind.
Now that’s most of what I do! Right now, I play with Impromptu Shakespeare, Somewhat Theatre, The Maydays and a couple of fun duos.
2. Who are your theatre, comedy and music idols?
Theatrically: Mark Rylance & Maxine Peake as performers – they are incredible. Michelle Terry for the bold decisions she’s making at the Globe. Not everything is a hit, but I think the angle she’s approaching from is awesome and what more ADs should be doing.
Comedically: Tiffany Haddish is not only hilarious but again her ethos is brilliant, bringing people up with her in the show ‘They Ready’. Everyone she’s had on that show has talked about her saying she would bring people with her if she ‘made it’, and she has. She’s a rock star of comedy who supports her fellow artists, truly putting her money where her mouth is. I think that’s golden. I also LOVE Maria Bamford. Another comedian unafraid to be 100% herself, embracing her mental health difficulties and rolling it in with her performance. She’s so beautifully weird & unique and makes no apologies for it.
Musically: Amanda Fucking Palmer. Again it’s not just her artistry (which I ADORE – her songwriting is playful, beautiful, raw and real) but her ethos. She was dropped by her label and she’s been crowdfunded ever since, and she’s able to rely on ongoing fan support because she really does include herself in that community which is her fans. She has picnics with supporters and still connects directly with fans for help when needed. It feels like a genuine two-way relationship. I also love Lucius. Their harmonies, song structure, power and energy are infectious. Great to sing along to.
3. What’s your favourite Bristol location?
Ok, so, I’ve only ever been to Bristol to do shows either in schools or at the Wardrobe…and I’ve never had time to have a wander. So I’ve not seen much beyond train stations and performance venues. However, I have had the joy of staying with the Bristol Improv Theatre’s Imogen Palmer and I will say that her garden is lovely and brought me the peace I needed when I was last there.
4. You will be performing at Dirty Picnic Club this Sunday, what are you expecting?
The unexpected. I’m expecting to be surprised, challenged, delighted and to do things I wouldn’t normally do in an improv show. The specifics, of course, are a mystery.
5. What are you most looking forward to doing on the night of the show?
Being challenged and delighted! I’m also incredibly excited to be playing with this cast as they are people I don’t get to play with normally so that’s already an utter delight. I’m just looking forward to doing something different to the norm…whatever that may be 🙂
Dirty Picnic Club is on Sunday 9th February at 8pm. Tickets are £7 and can be purchased here.