Sydney is an Edmonton based theatre artist finishing a degree in Drama and Gender Studies at the University of Alberta. They began improvising in 2010 with their high school team where they had the opportunity to participate in the Canadian Improv Games, Nosebowl, and countless NAIL shows. Since then they have been a member of the University Improv Group at the U of A where they have toured to six improv festivals across Canada and taught jam sessions for the past three years. Sydney enjoys caring for the many house plants, creating theatre, and reading books despite never finishing any.
TV Shows: Pushing Daisies, The Office, Gilmore Girls, Broad City
Movies: Cry Baby, Moonlight, Girl Interrupted, Carol, Royal Tenenbaums, Get Out, Virgin Suicides, Garden State
Actors: Cate Blanchett, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, and my best friend Eva Foote
Comedians: John Mulaney, Maria Bamford, Ilana Glazer, Kate Mckinnon, Dmitri Martin
Pastimes: Taking baths, I really enjoy watching videos of people decorating cakes and cooking
Music: Shannon and the Clams, No Doubt, Frankie Cosmos, I listen to a lot of 30-50’s era music of a range of genres
Food: Pad Thai from Lan’s, Maynards candy, spinach, chick peas, coconut ice cream, cheesies, avocado, cheese plates
Words to live by: My Grandmother would always say “Stand Tall” which I like. My mom and brother have it tattooed on them so I guess they like it a little more.
HOW YOU GET INVOLVED WITH RAPID FIRE?
Participating in the Wildfire festival when I was in high school. It was very rewarding to come full circle and stage team the CIG festival last year.
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL IMPROV SCENE?
Always find a way to have another improviser pick you up in a scene. Piggyback, fireman’s carry or sack of potatoes; there is always a reason to be carried around the stage.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS YOU CAN OFFER AUDIENCE MEMBERS ABOUT GIVING SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVISERS?
Well, if you’re giving suggestions then already you’re doing great! I guess my tip would be that if your suggestion is the very first thing you think of then we’ve probably heard it a million times. Try yelling out the third or fourth occupation that comes to mind instead. I think we can all agree we’ve seen enough dentist and mother daughter scenes to last a lifetime.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SHORT FORM VS. LONG FORM AND VICE VERSA?
Short form is great for being wacky and wild and heedless. The difference I find with long form is that if you make a really bold character choice and suddenly five minutes in you realize that high pitched voice you’ve chosen is surprisingly grating on your audience, or the hunched back is completely unsustainable, you are going to need a contingency plan. Short form is good for trying out those weird choices.
Long form on the other hand is probably my favourite because it’s so rewarding to really unpack a character, and let a narrative breath on stage. I find long form exciting because audiences can really sink their teeth into whats going on onstage and that is satisfying as a performer.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IMPROV STYLE?
Excited, playful, and I have the most fun playing slimy characters that make your skin crawl.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON STAGE?
Last year I had the opportunity to be a part of Sphinxes, which is Rapid Fire’s all femme show. There was a entirely different feel to being on stage with the completely female/non-binary cast. The best way I can explain the feeling was “I had no idea this is what I was working towards, but I am finally here.” As a youth doing improv I was surrounding by hilarious men and supporting women. Watching improv I only saw hilarious men and one or two (equally hilarious) women often working twice as hard to prove they deserved to be there too. I never really saw a space onstage for anything other than being a hilarious dude. Sphinxes was finally this space where it felt like I wasn’t watching a bunch of amazing improvers be amazing despite being women, they were unapologetically taking up space as women, and as hilarious, bad-ass improvers. After sort of searching for years I finally found the space I had never seen possible in improv, and I can’t even convey how cool that was.
WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF RFT?
I am studying at the university finishing up my final year as a Drama and Gender Studies student. I really enjoy working in theatre with collective creation pieces and as a director. I am really excited by reading and discussing work of feminist theorists particularly in the fields of queer theory and gender/sex politics.
HOW DOES IMPROV COME IN HANDY IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?
I am often flying by the seat of my pants and improv helps me wing it.
DESCRIBE WORKING FOR RAPID FIRE IN A SINGLE SENTENCE:
A damn treasure.