Let’s find out about the multi-talented performer, Rosie McLeish!
Hi Rosie! It’s great to be able to talk with you about your experience of Improv. Tell us about how you got started. What was your first workshop like, and how did you decide to give it a go?
I’d heard about the Impronauts before I’d come to Cambridge, so when I’d screwed up enough courage, I came to a Zoom workshop. The thing with Improv is that it is quite a vulnerable experience – I got into my own head about my “performance” and, even though I’d had the best time, I didn’t go again. That was until the fantastic workshops leader Alex encouraged me to come back, which I did, every week from then on! I think I’ve really been learning how to hold the quality of my own performance much lighter, and to relax into the playful nature of Improv.
You’re quite active in other areas of theatre and performance – fill us in!
Honestly I just love making people laugh, so I leap at the opportunity to do comedy! Musical theatre has a special place in my heart (improvised musical anyone?) and I’ve been involved in all sorts from student-written sci-fi musicals to the origins of the genre in Gilbert and Sullivan. I absolutely love trying out anything that seems fun, so I’ve sung with jazz, choral and operatic societies so far and hope to keep this going! Also if anyone’s got a string quartet that’s missing a viola, let me know!
Have you come across any ideas in Improv that you’d like to share with scripted or musical performers?
Some of the best direction I’ve experienced in scripted work has been someone who gives you the freedom to work with the part, try things out, and when things work, says “Yes! That’s in the show!” A lot of Improv is trusting your fellow actors in figuring out their creative process, which can be really hard because we all love control, but it is honestly so rewarding for the show itself.
You were brilliant in our stage show, BREAKING, at the ADC Theatre. What was it like preparing for that? How did it go on the night? Do you have groupies, now?
Thank you, it was so nerve-wracking and exciting to be back on stage for the first time in … however long. I found that I enjoyed the preparation as much as the show itself – one of the most frustrating parts of Improv is that sometimes you’ll come up with a storyline you like even more in a rehearsal! In one practice run, the plot was that I was jealous of my co-worker’s script about two clown best friends, and then an entirely unrelated plotline about squirrels taking over the world could only be resolved by us uniting to find a huge clown nose. It’s that kind of weird link-finding that is so satisfying and ridiculously entertaining, and it’s such a pity that the audience sees just the one show from the night!
Finally, pitch us a show idea!
*Cough cough* a musical…
OR a Jeeves and Wooster show! I think it would provide so much scope for one actor to mess up as much as they possibly could, with multiple misunderstandings, and the audience watches on as another actor (the butler) has to work out how on earth they can make everything fit together – and whether it will involve someone falling in a lake. Not to mention, I wouldn’t mind everyone wearing Edwardian fashion…
Sounds brilliant! [Dibs on Wooster – Editor]