Lee Boyes has been an improviser for almost 20 years, originally from Rad-gina, SK.
Lee has been improvising for over 25 years and works with RFT in a number of ways. Offstage he’s an instructor and technician. From time to time you can even catch him scoring scenes with his turntables; but more often than not, you’ll see him in our weekly Theatresports show; as a half elf necromancer in RFT D&D, or spitting rhymes with his improv life partner Chris Borger and their duo S.E.M. Lee has performed throughout North America, in festival ensembles or with his solo show Leegion, which explores multiple narratives, characters, and whatever other weirdness his black heart unearths! He also has a penchant for hot sauce & Satan
TV shows: The Wire-hands down the greatest television program ever created. The Simpsons, Kids in the Hall, Larry Sanders,The British office, the Canadian Newsroom
Movies: I really like John Carpenter movies. The Thing & Big Trouble in Little China are two of my favorites. I’ll give most things a shot and wish I had a long list of classy films, but mostly, I just watch garbage.
Actors: Gary Oldman in True Romance, Ben Foster in everything he does, Cate Blanchett in Coffee & Cigarettes. Come to think of it, Coffee & Cigarettes has some really great scenes: Iggy Pop & Tom Waits, The Rza, he Gza & Bill Murray. The scene between Alfred Molina & Steve Coogan is possibly the funniest 10 minutes in film.
Video games: Bioshock rules! The first two are utterly terrifying, and I’m a sucker for NHL & early Tony Hawk. I think TH2 is the best video game ever made, just the most accessible, cool and fun. If you wanna take it way back though; Tecmo SuperBowl is my jam.
Authors: People I’ve read the most of? Brett Easton Ellis; I’m fascinated by the Nihilism. Irvine Welsh; he’s Scottish and Trainspotting broke when I was starting to really embrace my heritage, he was a big influence. Stephen King is pretty great, he’s easy to go to. Yeah, he’s past his prime as it were, but the guy’s been doing it so long that it’s impossible for him to write anything that’s actually bad. You know you can turn to him in a pinch.
Music: Sheeeeeeeeeit! This is the money question for me. I am definitely an audiophile and could go on for hours. I guess if I picked 5 albums that resonate with me to this day…. Rocket From the Crypt/Scream Dracula Scream Rolling Stones/Exile on Mainstreet Constantines/Shine a Light Public Enemy/ Fear of a Black Planet Nine Inch Nails/ The Fragile …In no particular order of course…
Websites: Punknews.org, Pitchfork, Cracked. I try not to spend too much time on the internet. I usually troll those and get out as quick as I can. Food: Big fat, Salty dough, super cheezy pizza. That, and most forms of the potato. I am also a chump for pump cheese. I’ve discovered these butter caramel peanuts that are like 300 calories a hand full, but I can’t stop eating them. They’re the most delicious thing in the world.
Places to eat: I should really know more, I don’t get out enough. But I do dig Friends and Neighbours and the Next Act. Roadrunner on Whyte has the tastiest greeese pizza.
I don’t like having one single job, after three days in a row at any one job I’m ready to punch myself.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH RAPID FIRE?
I met Amy Shostak in 2010 when she and Arlen came to my home town of Regina to do a show. We became buds because she’s the coolest, and I wound up getting invited to be part of that years Improvaganza ensemble. I had been looking for a change of scenery and wanted to move to a place that had a solid improv community that wasn’t just some guys in a bar once a week. ‘Ganza showed me how legit improv was in Edmonton and when I told Amy I was coming to town, she let me jump in the free improv.
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL IMPROV SCENE?
The correct answer is fun. Makin’ it up and having a blast failing, and having a crowd enjoy themselves. But for me…I don’t know, it works on so many levels. I guess 100% commitment on every level. A confident presence, interesting physicality and honest characters, stage pictures, offers, acceptance, stakes all woven together and given a pace that both leads and follows the audience….I think about this too much….but I’m usually only happy if I feel a scene has had all those things.
WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE ABOUT GIVING SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVISERS?
Don’t be an asshole. We want you to be vocal, but think about how what you’re going to say has to help entertain everyone. You didn’t pay to be the centre of attention.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SHORT FORM VS. LONG FORM AND VICE VERSA?
I feel like short form is more the training ground for long. If I’m in a game, then I usually can only focus on the objective and one or two other things-like my character voice or listening or, but with long form you have time to flush it all out and bring out the various colors in your palate, so to speak. How would you describe your improv style? Positive Aggression. I don’t so much take a stage as attack it. I tend to roar and bound around a lot. It’s rad, and what sets me apart from a lot of people, but it can be borderline too much. I can bull doze if I’m not careful.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON STAGE?
As an improviser…I was doing my solo show Leegion, and there was one of those pin drop moments. I knew that I had every single person in the room in the palm of my hand and it was amazing. I also cherish the moments when I can elicit emotions other than laughter. I love it when I can make a person sigh with pity or gasp with shock.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A DAY JOB?
Retail, and hospitality. I don’t like having one single job, after three days in a row at any one job I’m ready to punch myself.
HOW DOES IMPROV COME IN HANDY IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?
It is life. That’s how I view it; it’s corny, but every single skill improv teaches you will make you a better human being. Not morally, but in terms of socialization, risk taking, confidence, communication-it’s all there.