Steven Hurst

Steven is a local improviser who has been making things up since 2013. He started improvising with the University of Alberta’s Notorious UIG and through this community has had the chance to perform in Alberta, British Columba and Manitoba. Steven graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Education from the U of A. He has taken his teaching career to Australia where he also had the chance to improvise with Melbourne-based companies: Impro Melbourne and Improv Conspiracy.

Steven enjoys ultimate frisbee, retro Nintendo games and agreeing with people when they say he looks like Elijah Wood or Toby McGuire. He is so happy to have found a passion in improv and grateful for the opportunity to grow as a person and improviser with Rapid Fire Theatre.

 

 

FAVOURITES

TV Shows: SNL, Dexter, Brooklyn 99, Shameless, Judge Judy, Big Brother

Movies: Kill Bill, Leprechaun, Hocus Pocus , Superbad, Death Proof, Jumanji

Actors:  Christopher Guest, Robin Williams, Quentin Tarantino

Video Games: Mario Kart, Star Fox, 007: Golden Eye, Super Mario

Books: Stephanie’s Ponytail, Enders Game, Goosebumps: Ghost Beach

Authors: Robert Munsch, Dr. Suess, Orsen Scott Card, R.L. Stine

Music:  Ed Sheeran, Chris Young, Fountains of Wayne, Sam Smith, Guns N’ Roses, Blink 182

Websites: Netflix, Google

Food: Fried Chicken, Tacos, Raspberries, Pizza and anything from Daravara

Words to live by:

“Yes”

“I’ve got your back”

“Adversity is just change we haven’t adapted to yet” – A. Mullins

HOW YOU GET INVOLVED WITH RAPID FIRE?

I stumbled across improv so late! I started improvising in my fourth year of university and joined the University Improv Group (UIG). After a year there I got an audition for RFT but had to miss it! I flew over to Australia to teach and did some improv over there as well. When I came back I got another audition, got in, then the rest is history in the making!

WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL IMPROV SCENE?

Honestly reacting, not planning anything and listening. You have to honestly react to what is happening on stage in front of you. Once you have a character you can react however you feel that character might react. It’s fun because you can be whoever you want to be but you can’t plan any of it. Improv is all about making things up on the spot, not planning a funny situation and then trying to unpack it on stage. Above all else, listening is the most important thing. Listen to your scene partner, listen to the audience and listen to yourself!

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

The suggestion an audience member gives is the catalyst to a great scene. Audience members sometimes say the thing that they expect would be funny but that suggestion is usually already funny on it’s own. Our job is to take the suggestion from the audience and go above and beyond with it. Give us a suggestion that will make our eyes light up when we hear it … something that will make the whole audience think, “oh yeah, that’s what I want to see”.

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

Short form is great because it’s over so quickly and gone forever. If a scene is derailed and you’re praying it will be over soon … well it will. On the other hand if you’re having such a great scene you can only live in that moment for so long. It keeps you on your toes and keeps and audience engaged and on the edge of their seats. Long form is fun because you can really become a character and tell an amazing story. For 20 seconds I once played a vengeful tooth fairy, scolding kids for being awake by stealing their teeth but then another time I played a spoiled rich king for like an hour … both were fun. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IMPROV STYLE?

You can think about someone’s improv style as a head, heart or fist. Head’s are the brains of a scene and can slay a narrative and keep things on track. Hearts wear their emotions on their sleeves and use feelings to push scenes forward. Fists add that unexpected or shocking flare to push scenes to the top. I think I improvise with my heart the most, using emotional stakes to make what’s happening on stage important. Knowing what “type” of improviser you are can help you push yourself outside you comfort zone and do the less comfortable things that scare you.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON STAGE?

My most memorable moment on stage was when I did my first solo scene in the first half. I asked for an emotion and a task and got “confused vacuuming”. I remember feeling so nervous when I started and then I got lost in the scene and it was so much fun. One of my favourite things happened during that scene which was when the technical improviser gave an offer that made the scene what it was! Even I was holding back some chuckles when he played a shrieking cat noise, leading me to end the scene by pulling a cat out of my vacuum.

WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF RFT?

I’ve been super into hot tubs lately. So I spend a lot of my time thinking abut when, where and how I can be in one. I’m also a teacher.

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

Improv is an art form where the core value can be summed up by always saying “yes and.” This means you accept what someone says, and then you add to it. It’s a way to perform a scene and also a way to live your life. I’ve found it has affected me to be more positive, listen, be honest, go with my gut and have fun.

DESCRIBE WORKING FOR RAPID FIRE IN A SINGLE SENTENCE:

Rapid Fire is like an ideal microcosm of positivity and play.