Marielle TerHart began improvising at the age of 21 to nurse a broken heart and partake in a pastime that resulted in less concussions than olympic wrestling.
Throwing herself into her new passion, TerHart learned how to improvise in the UIG, began volunteering for Rapid Fire Theatre and eventually made it into the company in 2013. Marielle currently performs in the first half of the company as well in the Chimprov troupe ‘Death of Modern Romance’ with Tim Mikula.
“Being in Rapid Fire is synonymous with experiencing unadulterated joy. I love having the privilege of playing pretend with my best friends. I get to be curious, imaginative and just plain weird. And best of all, I get to feel my cheeks flush with embarrassment in those moments of brutal honesty that my friends trick me into sharing with 150+ strangers every Friday night.”
When she’s not improvising, Marielle can be found haunting the deserted one am legislature grounds on her Linus bike, drinking concerning amounts of caffeine and professionally blogging (which she insists is a real career). TerHart’s long term goal is to one day be as hilarious as her mom, although she readily admits she’s a long way off.
TV Shows: Last Week Tonight, Parks & Rec, 30 Rock, One Tree Hill, Gilmour Girls, HIMYM, The Office, The Simpsons
Movies: Classic RomComs (think Sleepless in Seattle), Wes Anderson Films, Zombieland, and A Big Year
YEG Gems: The Mahogony Room (and Fort Ed in general after 6pm) & the Legislature at midnight|
Authors: Miriam Toews, Chuck Klosterman, Stuart McLean
Music: Gregory Alan Isakov, Stars, Eva Foote, Kathleen Edwards, Chet Baker
Pre & Post Show Eats: Tres Carnales (Fish Tacos), Woodwork (Kale Salad & Marmalade Cobbler Cocktail), North 53 (Late Night Fried Chicken)
Words to live by: Work hard & be nice to people.
We locked eyes and I felt instantly safe and like not knowing what was going to happen next was perfectly okay.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH RAPID FIRE?
Oh you know, the usual. A failed wrestling career due to excessive brain damage and a broken heart. I was really struggling and lonely. So I started going to the Varscona to watch Theatresports and there was something so magical about being able to sit by yourself and share this fleeting form of art with a room full of strangers and feel that little bit less alone. I went a lot and eventually I start volunteering, joined the UIG and am now performer. I also never feel lonely anymore on Friday nights.
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL IMPROV SCENE?
Passion and joy. You have to care, you have to have want, and you have to fun.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS YOU CAN OFFER AUDIENCE MEMBERS ABOUT GIVING SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVISERS?
Don’t be afraid. I used to be that person who would sit on their hands when the company asked for an audience volunteer. Be brave, give suggestions that lend themselves to imagination and shout out loudly into that darkness. The whole show depends on that courage.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SHORT FORM VS. LONG FORM AND VICE VERSA?
Short form you get to be bold and reckless. Even the worst thing you get yourself into will be over in five minutes tops. And there’s something so wonderfully freeing about that. You are actively steering into the disaster. Long form is like really falling in love with someone (vs the first date of short form). Once the initial jitters wear off, you get to develop depth and voice and complexity which make those jokes so much funnier.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IMPROV STYLE?
Emotionally and narratively driven. Stories usually come easier to me, I have had to work harder at quick puns and letting myself feel out of control in the scene. I’m a classic type-A person, but I work on mastering failure every Friday night.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON STAGE?
The moment I met my best friend, Chloe, in one of the first improv scenes I ever did at the spry age of 21. We locked eyes and I felt instantly safe and like not knowing what was going to happen next was perfectly okay. Or the time haunted chicken nuggets were trying to control my body from within. It’s a real tossup.
WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF RFT?
A lot. I usually have about five jobs ranging from the director of a summer camp for kids with invisible disabilities to a professional blogger for a high-end beauty boutique. I also help run Anthony at Your Service and am a freelance photographer. Oh and sometimes life model for art classes. Other than that I love to bake, listen to records and take scalding hot baths.
HOW DOES IMPROV COME IN HANDY IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?
I’ve always excelled at public speaking (I have junior high medals to prove it), but being a better listener, letting go of your own ideas and accepting failure helps me be a better (insert one of five jobs here). Improv is truly the best practise for real life.
DESCRIBE WORKING FOR RAPID FIRE IN A SINGLE SENTENCE: