Nick Shostak has been improvising with Rapid Fire Theatre since 2005. When he is not improvising he likes to expose his skin to excessive amounts of UV radiation to produce colourful mosaics.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE:
TV SHOWS: The Simpsons. I can and do quote this show constantly.
MOVIES: Fiddler on the Roof, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Predator, Blade Runner. I like musicals and sci-fi.
ACTORS: Roberto Benigni is incredible.
VIDEO GAMES: I love all sorts of videogames, but Heroes of Might and Magic III is probably the one that stole the most hours of my youth. Mechwarrior 4 and Doom are on the list as well. I could talk about videogames all day.
AUTHORS: Noam Chomsky, Chis Hedges, and R.L. Stine, The holy trinity of authors.
MUSIC: I listen to pretty much everything. Lots of disco, soul, and pop. But the best band that has ever existed is and will always be Judas Priest.
WEBSITES: I really just watch cat videos and make jokes on Facebook.
FOOD: Oh man. Pan-fried zucchini with excessive butter. Smells like fresh baked cookies and tastes like heaven. The Golden Bird restaurant makes incredible hot and sour soup. Also, best spring rolls in town.
PLACES TO EAT IN EDMONTON: B’s Diner on Whyte. So good! So friendly! African Safari and Golden Bird are tied for second.
HOW YOU GET INVOLVED WITH RAPID FIRE?
I was on my high school improv team and joined Rapid Fire in 2005. It’s really wild how much the company has grown since then. From 2005 to present I’ve just stuck to it like a stubborn badger digging a den.
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL IMPROV SCENE?
It’s all about energy. If you can infuse some energy into a scene, you’re doing it right. When you’re pumped to go on stage, the audience gets pumped to see you. I also think it’s really important to remember that it’s never about you. The audience doesn’t come to see you; they don’t care about you. They care about the characters you play and the talents you bring to the table. Finally, I’d add that improv is all about trust. If you trust and are trusted by the other improvisers you are working with, the scenework will be effortless.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS YOU CAN OFFER AUDIENCE MEMBERS ABOUT GIVING SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVISERS?
If it’s funny because it’s gross, you probably don’t want to see it on stage. Trust me.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SHORT FORM VS. LONG FORM AND VICE VERSA?
Short form improv is so much more about concept and energy. You can drop in static archetypes and just play with how they interact. Long form plays much more strongly into a character’s motivations and how they change. It’s the difference between a four-panel cartoon and a graphic novel. They are both a lot of fun, but for different reasons.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IMPROV STYLE?
I kind of just do what I think is fun. I like to play against the grain and keep people on their toes. If I’m not experimenting and challenging myself, I’m not doing my best work.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON STAGE?
I think my work with PRESS START really stands out for me. Something amazing happens every time. Also, I almost cried one time while playing a gambling-addicted Easter Bunny. I just really got into that character. Poor guy…
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A DAY JOB?
I work as a freelance theatre technician, and I’m currently job-hunting in the videogame industry. It’s nice to make a living with creative work, and money isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
HOW DOES IMPROV COME IN HANDY IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?
My public speaking abilities and personal confidence are a direct result of my improv career. It has been absolutely invaluable to my everyday life. Improv is for everybody. It breaks you out of the mindset that failure is a bad thing. Failure is part of the process in creating amazing things.
DESCRIBE WORKING FOR RAPID FIRE IN A SINGLE SENTENCE:
Horsing around with my best friends for a live audience.