from June, 2009:
One of the perks of being in Chicago Improv is that, yes, once is awhile (maybe annually?) Guffman comes to town. That is to say, Someone is coming to a show and their opinion of it Will Change Everything. The Guffman is either a TV producer looking for players or writers, or maybe even a Big Shot Agent looking for new faces. They come and watch Chicago’s famed sketch shows and improvised shows to see what piques their interest. And the process works. While not every Chicago Improv alumna was hired based on this sort of audition, enough have been to make it An Important Thing in your career.
And that’s the problem.
In an artform that stresses support for your fellow player, group mind, ensemble-work how does one stand out enough so that The Guffman says, “What’s that guy/gal’s name?” Do you sacrifice your fellow players by being in a lot of scenes, tagging people out? If it works, great! You’ll be gone soon enough… if it doesn’t… you have rehearsal at Gil Park next Wednesday with the people you just stepped on.
I imagine the best scenario would be for The Guffmans to come see regularly scheduled shows; that way they’d see the best work possible of the people on-stage (especially improvised work.) Of course, on the other hand, performers should be able to handle the pressure of this kind of Command Performance.
That all being said:
There’s a bigtime Guffman coming to town very soon! Good luck to everyone involved! Remember your training! Save you it can!