BERLIN – On June 5,2014, Lee White (CRUMBS, Winnipeg) und René Dellefont (Dad’s Garage, Atlanta) performed their CRUMBS Garage Show at Ratibor Theater (Berlin). Impro-News reporter Simona Theoharova spoke to Lee directly after the show. The following transcript was compiled from notes taken during the interview.
Simona Theoharova: Where is the difference in playing with René in Crumbs Garage and with Stephen from Crumbs?
Lee White: We are focusing on playing more with status. We’re trying to (it didn’t happen tonight) bring tension and violence into the scenes. We aren’t afraid of violence in scenes or bringing more status to it. He’s small, I’m tall. Status is important – most don’t play with it very well. That’s the major thing to give a different feel. And we have definitely a different element of humor – we make fun of each other. We’re happy to point out each other’s mistakes and we’re happy when the other one does it. More the Dad’s Garage feeling. More jokes and funniness.
I am obsessed with Japanese comedy game shows. A comedian with 5 years experience has a lower status than one with 5 years and one day. And the higher status always hits the lower one. René once said: It’s okay, you can punch me on stage. Follow the instinct to hit me! It’s important. But you can’t be violent in every scene.
ST: Do you have a special warm-up before you go on stage?
LW: A warm-up is not valuable for being connected with the people I’m working with and to be relaxed. Games put the energy up, not my flow.
ST: Your acting skills are very profound. You seem to be really deep into character.
LW: I think improvisers generally are the weakest actors, they have very little practice in acting. First I wanted to be an actor then the improv came. You should more connect with who you are as a character. Stay away from terrible jokes, stay in your character.
ST: The pressure is high with only two people on stage. You’re just relaxed and everything comes from that?
LW: With improv it works better if the audience sees who you are. If I’m talking with the audience I’m comfortable with that and I’m me. Sometimes with too high energy improvisers they are not themselves and don’t connect with the audience. If I breath and if I don’t have anything negative in me and relax, inspiration comes. I wanted to go to court but it didn’t happen (a scene from the show in which he wanted to sue René for killing 400 guinea pigs. Anm.d.R.) I dropped it, let it go. Don’t go into ‚this has to be good!‘. The best shows were those in which I didn’t want to be there, when I didn’t care if they like it. You’re more free if you don’t give a shit. More yourself.
ST: Do you meet after the show and talk about it?
LW: Yes, we are giving each other feedback. We talk about the format. Today in the first half we had only three, four scenes- not much. Our process: take time to think about it, then talk just before the next show about it. We critique each other without being hurt. Both of us want it to be good. We’re on the same page.
ST: Will you come back next year?
LW: Yes. Already this year, in November. Maybe together. We are friends for a long time now, since 2001/2002. We’re meeting at festivals a lot.
ST: A last, more personal question: Is there something you would like to learn?
LW: I hate singing. I wish I could sing on stage. I will not do it. And improv things I could be better in. Acting, better in listening and accepting. On your own you can practice on story and character. But sometimes I am mad and disappointed after the show when I know I missed an offer from my partner. In life I would like to be more patient and perhaps say what I’m feeling, no matter if it hurts somebody. My characters on stage are able to express themselves a little bit better than I can offstage.
Special thanks to Lee White!
Also check out our review of the June 5, 2014 show (in German language).