Jessica Bryson hails from the west coast, where she began studying and performing improvised theatre with UBCImprov. She studied long form with Alistair Cook at Vancouver’s Instant Theatre and with instructors like Crumbs, Scratch, Christian Capozolli, and Armando Diaz. Now she is a Repertory Player with Bad Dog Theatre Company, currently performing in Push Pins.
What drew you to improv?
I had been in theatre for my entire life and always been comedic, and the improv club offered a world of theatre I had never known before, and yet also felt life home.
What makes a player a joy to improvise with?
A delightful mix of playful, kind and intelligent- but perhaps more importantly, they make you all those things.
Have you ever had a game-changing moment as a performer?
Yes, at the end of my first year of improvising, my coach told me (as I had done nothing but play crazy big characters, but not necessarily getting the laughs I thought I “deserved”) that I could play a “moon man from mars with happy beams coming out of his stomach” but what really mattered was how he FELT when his happy beams were taken away. The laugh is not in the “crazy” choice, it’s in the REAL emotion!
Have you ever gone through a rough patch as an improviser? How did you handle it?
Oh yeah- I think everyone goes through a couple “plateaus” where they feel like they suck because they aren’t moving forward or, even worse, regressing. These are the times you need remember what you love about improv, and seek constructive criticism. As an artist you are always growing, a plateau is a sign you need to challenge yourself again.
What excites you on stage?
That moment when you know the audience is with you, when you can feel the tension and anticipation in the room.