Gary Schwartz

To know us better: Gary Schwartz

Our heart beats very strong, the festival is tomorrow guys!
Interview process is almost over, with Gary Schwartz!


1) Suppose you could make an improv duo with a character you have voiced over? Who would you pick and why?

I would love to have the two characters I voice from the video game Team Fortress 2:The fiery, self-pitying Scotsman, The Demoman and the egotistical Heavy Weapons Guy, a Russian mercenary, improvise together. They would be a fun improv duo. Both characters have such strong points of view it would be interesting to see how they would handle getting suggestions from the audience and playing out a scene.

2)Which is the most important lesson you have learned from your students?
My students mostly show me what to teach. When I watch them work, it reminds me that I can never take their situation for granted. I remember having gone through what they are going through and never think their struggle is trivial. I always try to side-coach to help each student solve the problem. It’s always a learning experience for me AND them.

3)What was a very persistent bad habit in improv that took you ages to quit? (Or maybe you are still trying.)
It’s called playwriting. Or micro-scripting. Trying to think ahead what would be good, or funny to say to start with. Verses going onstage with nothing and letting something happen without initiating. It’s a constant battle. In the early days, I would constantly think of what I could say or come on with and I would slap myself in the face to stop thinking ahead. I was too scared to go up with nothing. It took a long time to get that. I still find myself doing it sometimes, but I’ve stopped hitting myself.

4)Suppose you are a mad scientist. Which would be the first experiment you’d run on stage, and why?
I’d try to make the where so real we’d all see it and it would remain onstage for others to use. The real magic of improvisation is what my teacher Viola Spolin was after – making the invisible, visible. Why? The invisible is hard to see, but not impossible. The act of creating it and making use of it is the key to great improvisational theater.

5)Have you caught yourself insisting and playing frequently any specific improv games? Which ones and why?
I always play mirror: i.e., following the follower and doing a Spacewalk to bring us all into the same space. When we are in the Space, we are out of our head and share an objective reality. I always like to get everyone to feel connected to themselves, each other and the environment. My personal favorite games to play are Gibberish and Transformation of Relationships, though I rarely get a chance to play Transformations because I’m more about teaching than performing these days. I do play Gibberish, because it is a universal language.

6)If you would make one rule that everyone has to follow what would it be?
Let go of your agenda and go with what’s going on.

7)If you could know the absolute and total truth to one question, what question would you ask?
Quoting Viola Spolin again. “Let us play the game and evoke the oracle and ask, ‘Who are we? Where are we? and What are we doing?’ And in that way, we may find the answers to all our questions.“

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