Christine DeWitt

Christine DeWitt took her first improv workshop in 2012, and quickly began wondering why she hadn’t been doing it her whole life. After falling down the spiral of obsessively doing improv wherever and whenever she could, Christine joined the cast of Rapid Fire Theatre in 2014.

Christine is a native Edmontonian and loves the City. She lives and works in the heart of downtown (her commute is a 6-minute stroll), and is convinced  that she’ll never need a house with a yard because the river valley does the trick just fine. In October, 2014, Christine’s accomplishments, along with her dedication to her hometown, were recognized when she was named one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40.

When not making up funnies on stage, Christine, who is a lawyer by training, works as an executive and legal recruiter.

TV Shows: The West Wing (if you’ve never seen it, you’re doing yourself a grave disservice), Golden Girls, Saturday Night Live, Archer, Mad Men.

Movies: The Sound of Music, Donnie Brasco, Grease, Dazed and Confused, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Actors: I love Gene Wilder. He’s just brilliant. Maybe I have a weird crush on him, ok?

Video Games: Super Mario Bros., L.A. Noir, Portal.

Authors: I’m a non-fiction reader. I love autobiographies and war history.

Music:  My favourite band in the world is Queen, but my taste in music is varied. I was raised on classic Canadian rock (BURTON CUMMINGS IS A NATIONAL TREASURE, PEOPLE), I fell in love with punk and metal as a teenager, and I basically can’t stand to miss Choral Concert on CBC Radio 2 every Sunday morning.

Websites: AnimalsOfFarmSanctuary.com. Go there and prepare to fall in love.

Food: I’ve had some big food obsessions recently. In the morning my favourite place to go is Coffee Bureau on Jasper & 105 Street. They have my favourite coffee in town, and the BEST croissants I have ever had in my whole life (for real). I also can’t get enough of the house-made hummus from Earth’s General Store, or the ricotta egg yolk raviolo from Bar Bricco. If you haven’t had that, you need to go right now. RIGHT NOW.

Words to live by: Always have dessert.

HOW YOU GET INVOLVED WITH RAPID FIRE?

A few years ago I started taking Rapid Fire Theatre’s public workshops after procrastinating for a very long time because I was too afraid to just do it. Once I started I couldn’t stop, and I haven’t stopped since.

WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL IMPROV SCENE?

A strong sense of trust in yourself and in your scene partners, checking your ego at the door, and a willingness to take risks.

WHAT ARE SOME TIPS YOU CAN OFFER AUDIENCE MEMBERS ABOUT GIVING SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVISERS?

Keep it simple! If we ask you for a profession, yell out your own, or your dad’s, or your best friend’s. If we ask you for a location, yell out a location you were in that day. There’s no need to rack your brain trying to think of something clever – you already have what you need to give a great suggestion!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SHORT FORM VS. LONG FORM AND VICE VERSA?

In short form you can make crazy choices with less potential fallout. I mean, the risk of failure is always there, but with short form if you really go off in the wrong direction, at least your scene will be over in three minutes!  With long form, I love the ability to explore something more deeply: a character, a theme, a story. In those moments, you get to be “in the zone” longer, and for me that helps me get out of my head.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IMPROV STYLE?

My reflex is to play the straight man, but I’ve been working hard to break that down. So I’d describe my style as a very fun internal tug-of-war.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON STAGE?

One of my most favourite recent moments on stage was with Marielle TerHart. We were performing semi-scripted sketch comedy disguised as improv. It was intentionally very bleak, and the audience didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or cringe. When we finally broke the tension and they knew it was safe to laugh, the payoff was so gratifying.

WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF RFT?

Last year I left a law career after seven years of practice, and I haven’t looked back. Now I work as a recruiter and I spend a lot of time hanging out with my husband and our old rescue dog, Lucky.

HOW DOES IMPROV COME IN HANDY IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?

It comes in handy in all kinds of ways, but more than anything, I think improv makes me a much better listener.

DESCRIBE WORKING FOR RAPID FIRE IN A SINGLE SENTENCE:

It’s like being the guardian of a special treasure: you feel privileged, humbled, and excited to be trusted with its care!