Krebs recently shared with me a few thoughts about performing and teaching improv.
SKK: What was the moment you first discovered you loved performing improv?
AK: Probably during high school. Our theater class had an improv group in it. It started with just theater games in…1992?
SKK: What about these games did you enjoy?
AK: I enjoyed the spontaneity and uncertainty.
SKK: What has been your favorite onstage experience so far?
AK: There's been a lot of 'em… It's all pretty amazing to me. In general, I love the moments when you trust that you're doing something but you don’t' know what it is that you're doing, and you figure it out after you’ve already been doing it.
SKK: What led you to begin teaching improv?
AK: I started teaching because I felt like I developed my own point of view and philosophies about it, and that became something I wanted to share. And I also wanted to make myself better. Although I'm teaching, I'm also learning myself -- with every scene and with every class I watch.
SKK: You've touched on this a little bit, but what would you say is the most rewarding aspect of teaching for you?
AK: My favorite thing about teaching is getting a student to appreciate the art of improv rather than just appreciating it for surface reasons. I enjoy getting someone really enthusiastic about improv.
Improv is something I'm extremely passionate about. If [it's] something actors are passionate about, they should take a class.
SKK: What has been your favorite in-class experience so far? This experience could also be as a result of class.
AK: For me [favorite experiences are] always when you work with someone who's not getting it, and then you offer that piece of information that's easily digestible for them, and it changes for them. I like making people "professionals" at this. An amateur will do improv and not understand what went wrong. A professional will do it and understand.
SKK: What might be an example of something that goes "wrong" that an amateur won't understand but a professional will?
AK: An amateur won't be able to tell you why a scene was bad. A professional will tell you "this scene was bad because we didn't have a relationship" or "we weren't inspiring each other." They can communicate versus knowing just what's "good" and "bad."
SKK: Lastly, for everyone reading this blog who is trying to figure out what shows to see first, which are a few Harold teams you think are particularly successful, and why do they work so well? You can include your own.
AK: Elevator on Thursdays is my show. Obviously I'd love for people to come see that, and, backing up what I was talking about, our work is relationship-based and character-based. USS Rock n Roll is a solid team with a great focus on ensemble. King Ten is another team I'd recommend. I think that they encompass the attitude of fun. And Trophy Wife is a fantastic team also. They do consistently good work.
Aaron Krebs' bio:
Aaron Krebs, from Texas by way of Chicago, has been involved with improv for over twelve years. He is part of the National Improv Touring Company, Mission IMPROVable, where he performed in such noted comedy festivals as: Chicago Improv Festival, Memphis Comedy Fest, Orlando Fool's Festival, Great Lakes Comedy Fest, Big Stinkin Improv Festival, as well as others. After three seasons of touring the US, Krebs is proud to find his home here at iO West.
Aaron Krebs currently teaches Level 3.
- Shawn Kathryn Kane