Slapdash 2016 – Interview with Will Luera

Will Luera

We asked some of our teachers to answer a few questions about their life in improv comedy. You can read them here.

Will Luera

What’s your improv “origin story?” (How did you first discover improv?)
I was attending Boston College and wanted to audition for a play. I was nervous about having to memorize a monologue so when I saw an audition notice that didn’t require it, I jumped at the opportunity, not knowing that it was for an improv show. I have been hooked every since.
Where have you studied improv?
iO, Second City and Annoyance. I was also lucky to have taken improv intensives with 3 of the original 4 UCB (Besser, Roberts, Poehler) before they became “The UCB” and I’ve also taken two intensives with Keith Johsntone.

Every show is truly different and exists as a spontaneous collaboration between the audience, the cast and the space.

Tell us about the class that you’re running.
I’m teaching a class on the style of Free-Form I developed while I was Artistic Director of ImprovBoston and continue to teach at Florida Studio Theatre. It started out as an attempt to unite ideas of short-form and long-form but has evolved to a more fluid style that is not limited by the concepts of time, space or story.
What do you hope students will be able to take into their scenes after finishing your class?
The concept that every show is truly different and exists as a spontaneous collaboration between the audience, the cast and the space.
What do you do outside of improv?
Up until two years ago I worked as a Technical Project Manager for a variety of companies in the Boston area. Thankfully, my career has now reached a point where I can teach, direct and perform improvisation full-time out of Sarasota, Florida.
What’s a memorable move/scene/walk on/whatever you’ve seen someone else make in an improv show or workshop?
The first time I saw the Annoyance perform at the 2000 Chicago Improv Festival, blew my mind. It was the first time I saw improv as theater and also the first time I saw a group play with the fundamentals of improv scenework. The way they reformed dialogue and blocking opened my eyes to the fluidity of improv. This followed by my intensive with Burn Manhattan started my path towards Free-Form.

Have Fun. Be Nice to Each other. Follow the Funny.

What’s a move you’ve made where you’ve instantly regretted it and thought it was dumb as shit?
As a young improviser, I got to do a scene with Bob Dassie as part of an all-star jam at a festival in Memphis. My first line was, “Get out of here!!”…and he did. He left the stage and left me all alone for what felt like forever. I learned my lesson.

Most unexpected laugh you’ve gotten?
At a show in Barcelona, I mistranslated a word and continued to misuse the word for the rest of the show. The fully fluent audience just laughed the whole way through the show while I sounded like an idiot.
What bit of improv advice that you’d give to someone starting out in improv today?
Have Fun. Be Nice to Each other. Follow the Funny. Sorry, I guess that’s 3 pieces of advice.
What bit of improv advice would you give to someone that has been improvising for a while but is stuck in a rut?
Re-calibrate your learning pattern by teaching yourself a new skill or taking classes in something else.
What is it that you love about improvisation?
The potential to be anything and be anywhere.
What comedy do you like outside of improv? Movies? TV Shows? Stand Ups?
Louis CK, Walking Dead, Stranger Things…reruns of The Office, Community, News Radio and Parks and Rec.

We sometime fail to apply our idea of “Yes, and”, “Support”, etc. to our relationship off the stage. We should be just as supportive and forgiving all of the time, not just when the audience’s validation is at stake.

What’s the coolest shit that being an improviser brings you?
The ability to make friends all over the world.
Who have been some improv teachers and coaches that have taught you and what did you like about them?
Mick Napier taught me to take risks; Joe Bill taught me to listen; Amy Poehler taught me to have fun.
What’s your favourite warm up exercise?
Monologue Hotspot.
What’s your favourite improv exercise?
Growing and Shrinking Machine.
Got any pre-show rituals?
I like to chat with my cast members and see how their day was.
What is one of the most fun or useful improv workshops that you’ve taken?
I recently took a workshop called “Love the one you’re with” taught by Justin and Kelly. What a great reminder on how to find the positive humor in our scene partner instead of comedy based in conflict. So much fun!
What (if anything) do you hate about improv?
We sometime fail to apply our idea of “Yes, and”, “Support”, etc. to our relationship off the stage. We should be just as supportive and forgiving all of the time, not just when the audience’s validation is at stake.
How do you describe what we do to someone who has never seen improv before?
Assuming they know what theater is, I describe it as unscripted theater.
What public figures do you think would make good improvisers and why?
Barack Obama. I think his Emotional Intelligence and listening skills are epic.

Will is performing Wednesday 19th October with 3G and Thursday 20th October with Big Bang.
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2589967
www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2589976

He is also doing an amazing Free-Form workshop.
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2592470

 

 

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