Sioux City, Iowa
Listen to Jen Talk!
When/why did you start improvising?
I needed a job. I moved to Minneapolis, December of 1998. I was working a full-time job (that paid $7 per hour, no benefits - - but awesome experience) and needed additional work. Luckily, the Brave New Workshop needed a box office person for "Flanagan's Wake", an interactive Irish wake that then happened in a conference room behind Kieren's Irish Pub.
I was offered free classes at the Brave New Institute while working for the Workshop. I think I started classes in February of 1999.. :)
My Six Ring team was called Q, and my first improv troupe was called Unitard (we performed at the first Improv A Go Go, which happened at the Palace Theater in St. Paul). Since then, I've been a part of a number of groups: Adorable, Happy Indecisive, Vaudeville with a Pig, Socially Awkward, Hellendrung, Scott & Associates and others.
I've been a featured performer at the New Orleans Improv Festival, the Great American Comedy Festival, and at the Twin Cities Improv Festival. I perform regularly with Huge Theater (recent credits include "Creature Feature", "Ka-Baam!!", and "Overheard in Minneapolis").
Non-improv-wise, I work as an actress/performer (recent credit include "We Gotta Bingo" and "Tony & Tina's Wedding" with Actors Theater of Minnesota, Mystery Cafe', "Deadwood: The Last Bleepin' Episode" with Joking Envelope Productions, "All My Sons" with the Pioneer Place.) I also work as a performer at the Science Museum of Minnesota, where we produce original pieces dedicated to informal science education!
Finally, I produce an interview/improv show called "Camilla Parker Bowls (at the BLB)". Information can be found at octoberdandy.com!
What is your favorite improv structure?
Oh man. Deconstruction.
What is your favorite class to teach, why?
The Everyday classes are amazing! The collective I.Q. of any given Everyday Improv class is generally through the roof. Also, these classes feel very open, explorative and there's no ego. So much fun.
I also love coaching Six Ring. I love a group of experienced improvisers who are brave enough to experiment and have a "bad show" - - and support each other, no matter what happens.
Favorite teacher or improv book?
Here in Minneapolis, some of my favorite teachers are actually some co-workers - - Jenni Lilledahl, Dave Kappelhoff, Lauren Anderson are just a couple. :) Outside of Minneapolis, Joe Bill, Mark Sutton, Matt Donnelly, Bill Arnett, Michael Gellman. Everyone should take a workshop from Jane Brody.
Mic Napier's Improvise This is killer. Keith Johnstone's Impro geeks me out. I also secretly love Micheal Gellman's Process.
What do you want written on your tombstone?
"In my life, I've loved them all" (My tombstone's gonna be super cheesy)
If you could be any animal what would you be?
A hawk! ka-kaaaa!