Starting in September 2018 our Student Blog will highlight various Bovinians! Featuring current students, former students, teachers, etc., all sharing their stories and perspective on what the Bovine and their improv experience means to them.
Interview with Chloe Toscano, 2018
Chloé Valentine Toscano, has been taking improv classes at the Bovine since Fall 2017. She’s performed in some shows including Dreamprov, Campfire Jams, and, Producer Wars. She plans on completing all of the levels because, she says, she still has very much to learn.
BB: Why did you sign up for improv classes? What was level 1 like?
Chloé: I decided to sign up because I thought it looked like a great way to be able to socialize and work on being less shy in front of people. My level 1 teacher was Luke Gaston! Luke was a great teacher because he did a fantastic job of creating a supportive and group-minded environment. Our class immediately became a fast group of friends and I like to think that that was facilitated by Luke and the smooth sailing introduction he provided for us. And as an added bonus, he helped me retrieve my keys that one time I locked them in my car!
BB: Were you nervous about starting a new experience?
Chloé: Nervous? Prior to starting classes I was very nervous. I was in an accident a couple years back that severely injured my left arm and caused its paralysis. For a long time following that incident, I felt ashamed when others would take notice of my arm or see me operating differently. So the thought of standing in front of a group of people and doing improv seemed daunting. What if nobody knew what I was trying to convey using object with my body? What if they felt bad for me or thought I was weird? But one day, theatre owner Eric Farone said to me, “You do your object work just like you would do it in real life [with one hand]. That’s who you are and that will be a part of all of your characters.” And that’s exactly what I did. Now I feel more comfortable with my improv family than anywhere else. We are all different and improv is a thing that quite literally “yes, ands” everybody’s differences in a positive light.
BB: Are you on any teams? What has that experience been like?
Chloé: I just recently auditioned and got cast on my first team. Auditions seemed so scary prior to my first time but in reality it isn’t bad at all. The first rule I set for myself for an audition is to have fun! If you’re having fun then you’re most likely relaxed and that will help you have a successful audition. Auditioning is a challenge on its own and so you can never have enough practice. Besides, you might surprise yourself! The improv team hasn’t been rehearsing for long but the support and friendship that already exists within the team is inspiring. Our team showcases many different levels of experience and that lends to the constructive atmosphere that a team should possess. It is exciting to work closely with others and learn to play with different people.
BB: Do you have a favorite thing about improv?
Chloé: If I had to call out the one closest to my heart I would have to talk about the boost of confidence that improv brought about in my life. Following my accident, it often felt like I’d never be like “myself” again. However, improv has not only helped me return to the confident person that I once was but also has helped me tap into other sides of myself that I didn’t even know existed. My social interactions are so much more positive and I feel so outgoing! I’ve met some of my best friends in improv and many of them have become like family. The “yes, and” concept you are introduced to day one of class is something I constantly find myself trying to apply in life outside of the theatre. It is such a malleable concept that can lead to things such as a general increase in positivity to things such as bettered acceptance and bravery. I spent 3 years saying I just wanted to be “normal” again until I decided to start “yes, anding” the cards that I had been dealt. When I find myself getting frustrated, I try to apply that basic improv motto. Losing control of a limb has taken so many things away from me, but if I close my eyes and say “yes, and” I start to see all of the positive things that this change has given or introduced me to. I eagerly await the future memories that will be made and cherished thanks to improv.
If you’re interested in auditioning for a house team or show at the Bovine, check out what’s coming up here.