Sarah Mattiello has been improvising since 2009 when she joined her high school’s improv team. She performed with Rapid Fire Theatre from 2011 to 2021.
During her time with RFT, Sarah was involved in many shows and troupes, including the creation of the Magic Marv XXS – the very popular improvised male stripper epic.
She performed in the Canadian Improv Games and also in the Edmonton Nosebowl festival. When not improvising Sarah can be found rock climbing, playing soccer or blatantly showing off her dog. Being in Rapid Fire Theatre has allowed Sarah to grow in so many ways, she is beyond grateful for the people she has learned from and cast she is lucky to be a part of.
*Special thanks to ICE CASTLES, LLC for letting us use their Edmonton Ice Castle for Sarah’s photoshoot.
TV Shows: Friends, Game of Thrones, New Girl, Friday Night Lights, Diners Drive Ins and Dives, and Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.
Movies: Remember the Titans, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (but really all of them), Hunger Games. Love Actually and She’s the Man.
Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Eddie Redmayne, Robert De Niro, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
Authors: J.K. Rowling, Tamora Pierce, Juliet Marillier, Khaled Hossesini, Susanne Collins, Laurie Halse Anderson and Brene Brown.
Music: The Head and the Heart, Of Monsters and Men, Beyonce, Scott Helman, Matt Corby, Taylor Swift
Websites: Buzzfeed, Netflix, Etsy and Facebook.
Food: Pizza, Nutella and Nutella pizza.
Words to live by: “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” – Brene Brown
I love becoming emotionally connected within improv
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH RAPID FIRE?
I started performing improv in Grade 10 with my high school team and had the opportunity to perform in the Canadian Improv Games and in the local Edmonton Nose Bowl Tournament. After high school I was asked to audition for Rapid Fire Theatre and amazingly, I made it!
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL IMPROV SCENE?
I think a successful improv scene requires play, trust and willingness to embrace the unknown. Many people would say that a good scene needs the five elements: setting, characters, problem, stakes and solution, but I would argue these elements are more like guidelines. And of course guidelines are meant to be broken. My favourite scenes to be in and to watch are those where the improvisers are genuinely having a great time, trusting and playing with their scene partners and willing to fail for the sake of the scene. Improv is never perfect, it’s messy and silly and all over the damn place.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS YOU CAN OFFER AUDIENCE MEMBERS ABOUT GIVING SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVISERS?
Before you yell out a suggestion, ask yourself, “Do I want to see a scene about this for the next 4-5 minutes?” If you even have to hesitate before answering “yes” then please reconsider. Trust me, no one likes the guy yelling “butthole” or “gynecologist.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SHORT FORM VS. LONG FORM AND VICE VERSA?
I love that during short form I feel like I am improvising faster than I can think. It’s extremely in the moment and also so perfectly temporary. Four minutes and that scene is gone forever. You bow and it falls out the top of your head, never to be seen again. There’s a certain excitement to the short life and fast times of short form, it’s so fast you have to love every moment. Long form has more build up and in some ways feels more demanding because the details you set up at the beginning need to last you throughout a 45 minute set. I often feel more pressure to create a complex story because I have the time to do so. Despite the pressure, I love long form improv, it is storytelling at its finest.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IMPROV STYLE?
I would describe myself as both a storyteller and as a “heart” improviser. I really value narration and story arcs within improv. I love seeing the transition of character and the progression of a story. Furthermore I love becoming emotionally connected within improv, that’s where the heart aspect comes into play. I always hope to find the magic space between the improviser and audience, the space where improv connects to real life.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON STAGE?
The first time Josephine and I performed our CHiMPROV troupe, Doodle Bop Girls, in a middler spot (30 minutes) we received a Harry Potter suggestion. Considering Josephine and I are the world’s biggest Harry Potter fans this was a dream come true. The entire set we were dropping references and ended the set playing Quidditch and with the line, “Yer a wizard Arry.” Simply magical.
WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF RFT?
Outside of Rapid Fire I am still improvising at life and trying out this new thing called “being an adult.” During the week I can be found finishing my degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Alberta and being Co-President of the University of Alberta Improv group. When I’m not in class I’m working, climbing and usually falling, at the U of A Rock Climbing Centre. Outside of school I play soccer too aggressively in the Edmonton Premier division with my team Hearts United. Usually I end my night’s binge watching Friends and begging my parents for a puppy.
HOW DOES IMPROV COME IN HANDY IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?
Literally nothing has helped me more in life than being able to improvise my way out of a tough spot. Seriously. One time I improvised an entire performance to get into almost closed Costco to get half priced Ugg boots. It involved faking having to pee and lying security guards. I regret nothing.
DESCRIBE WORKING FOR RAPID FIRE IN A SINGLE SENTENCE:
Being in Rapid Fire is the best part of my week.