Instant Theatre Full Colour Logo

We’ve added two amazing instructors to our talented faculty at Instant Theatre, Amy Shostak and Janet Davidson! We’re very lucky to have them teaching with us and they’ll be bringing their signature workshops to Instant Theatre in the coming months, more details can be found here. We asked them a few questions so you could get to know them a bit better.

Amy Shostak Headshot

Amy Shostak

Amy Shostak joins us from Rapid Fire Theatre in Edmonton, where she was the Artistic Director for many years and helped bring RFT’s amazing classes and festivals to new heights.

 

Hey there, please introduce yourself to our wonderful Instant community.
My name is Amy Shostak. I am an improvisor, working between Edmonton and Vancouver, and I am so pumped to work with Instant!

How did you get your start in improv?
I started improvising in high school in a Theatresports tournament for teens called The Nosebowl. After that, I took some workshops with Rapid Fire Theatre (Edmonton’s longest running improv company), and then was asked to join the company in 2002.

What are some of the cool improv styles/techniques/perspectives you bring with you to Instant Theatre?
In terms of style, I was trained at Rapid Fire Theatre, and so I think I bring some of that company’s mischief-making and energy to my work. One thing I have taken away from my training is that short form and long form are equally fun, equally challenging, and can be equally fast or slow. I think there’s some misconceptions out there about all the “differences” between them.

My perspective on improv is harder to define…. I’m a big fan of attitude and impulse as the most important foundations for an improvisor. The skills (structures, games, genres) are filters you can place on top of scenes, but if you don’t have the right attitude, or you can’t follow your impulses, the skills will fall flat.

What’s the moment in improv (performance or rehearsal) that has made you laugh the hardest?
The first thing that came to mind: I was playing Theatresports a month or so ago in Edmonton. In the wings, right before we went on, I uttered to my cast-mate that I should have gone pee. When we entered that stage, the coin toss to see who played first, was chugging a bottle of water the fastest. I won the coin toss, but then I had to pee even worse. The next few scenes I was squirming around, tapping my feet, etc. At one point, I announced I had to go, and tried to leave the stage, but my fellow performers wouldn’t let me, and made me play a scene where they were all tickling me or pushing on my gut. I finally rushed out of the theatre, in real trouble! I guess the moral of the story is, go pee before your show.

What are some of your signature characters? What type of characters do you have the most fun playing?
I don’t really think I have a strong stable of characters, like some of the great character improvisors do! The easiest way for me to access character is emotion; how does the suggestion make me feel, is my scene partner for or against me? I like characters that are deeply warped, mean, or make the audience sympathize.

What can you tell us about your upcoming classes at Instant?
I’ll be leading a brand new workshop called “Risky Business” around taking risks of all kind (emotional risks, improv risks, risks like not peeing before a show). The focus of the workshop is to create variety in short form shows by making choices for what’s best for the show, even if it might scare you. I will also be working with Instant’s Conservatory.

Janet Davidson Headshot

Janet Davidson

Janet Davidson hails from Second City in Toronto and brings a wealth of improv and teaching experience to Instant Theatre. She’s been a longtime cast member and instructor at Second City, as well as being a regular mainstay in sketch and acting in Toronto.

 

How did you get your start in improv?
I started doing improv in high school. I have this great teacher Mrs. Vanveen she really united our class although we all came from different cliques. Untll that point I was pretty shy and introverted. I still am at times but it helped me find my voice. I will always be grateful for her and that class.

What are some of the cool improv styles/techniques/perspectives you bring with you to Instant Theatre?
I am a fan of grounded situations with fun characters. I love point of view within comedy, throw in some game of the scene and I am in heaven.

What’s the moment in improv (performance or rehearsal) that has made you laugh the hardest?
This is a hard one because I find when I set goes will I don’t think about it but when set goes wrong that is when I lament over it.

I do remember being a team called Coach Bus. I had this ridiculous character that I have had done for years named Lindford. Lindord is a lispy kid that is wise beyond his years and Lara Johnson had tapped in and brought the character to their family life. Basically mirroring back my character and all I remembered was trying to hold it together though out the rest of the scene.

What are some of your signature characters? What type of characters do you have the most fun playing?
Recently I have been having a lot of fun playing an old lady characters or the kid that is wise beyond their years and a high-powered business woman that doesn’t take shit from anyone. I revisit characters but I don’t spend time taking stock in them.

What can you tell us about your upcoming classes at Instant?
The class I am bringing to instant is Iron Maidens. Iron Maidens is an exciting new course that focuses on developing and honing skills for female improvisers in a supportive environment.

Follow Us

Instant Theatre Full Colour Logo

While you can read up on Instant news on our blog, please be sure to follow us on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram to stay up to date with all the latest contests, fun photos, special events, workshops, shows and more!

Leave a Reply