In the lead up to our next Cool Story Bro at Room to Play Theatre, Big Forker Jim continues his run of interviews with Big Fork players by sitting down with Logan Cronin-Stacey. Logan's a stalwart of the improv community in Brisbane, and has also recently started contributing his writing and acting talents to GET IT* INYA.
In this conversation Logan and Jim talk about finding your confidence, improv's application to everyday life, and DANGEROUS ANIMALS.
Jim: Hey Logan, how’re you doing?
Logan: I’m OK, just had a very enjoyable jam.
Indeed, we just had Chris facilitating a jam around the Form of the Scene format. Very fun. So how long have you been improvising for? Also – are you not cold? You’re only wearing a T-shirt.
Do you not feel the cold?
I guess not. I’ve been improvising for just on three years now.
So three years in, how’re you feeling about improv?
It’s a dead end. No it’s not that. It’s one of those things that always feels new. It’s new every time so there’s always something exciting about it.
In terms of you as an improviser after three years, how do you feel like you’ve grown or you’ve progressed as an improviser?
I’m a more seasoned performer, definitely. I’m getting to the stage now where I’m conscious of trying to impart stuff that older people showed me to the people who are just starting off. I’m more confident, certainly.
What’s led to the increase in confidence?
Probably the Smackdown show I did with Trevor, Dave, Jonno and yourself last year. Just the rehearsal, and the building of the team, and the process of creating something fun that people seemed to like was a big confidence boost. Also it was just nice to have that practice of leading the scenework, being one of five people and having to build that show with a small group.
Have you always struggled with confidence?
I think just as a person, in my life, I've always struggled with feeling like I'm imposing on people or I'm getting in the way of someone else's ideas.
Where do you think that comes from?
Probably from my general social life, or…I’m…I’m always very enthusiastic, let’s say.
You are that.
Some describe me as over enthusiastic. High school wasn’t fun.
It’s fair to say that improv is an excellent outlet for you?
Oh yeah. It’s the only hobby I have where I interact with other people! Improv lets me be creative and have quick creative wins, without being judged.
Are you getting different things from improv now that you’ve been doing it for longer?
Yes, I’m finding my strengths and knowing how best to utilise my strengths to make me a stronger player overall.
Do you think that improv has helped you in life as well?
OH YEAH. It certainly has. Just, I guess the main way it’s changed my life is that I’m interacting with people much more often. I’ve got a bit of Asperger’s, so just…improv has been very beneficial insomuch as it’s helped me learn how to socialise. Improv is about watching your scene partner, and really listening to them and watching them for cues, which is something I struggle with. So I’d credit improv for really helping me to get better at interacting with people. I think of it like, in the same way that improv scenes have a game or a pattern underneath them, I’m now much better able to follow patterns or themes of conversations people are having, and that’s all thanks to improv.
I had not thought about it that way. That’s really cool.
So like, now, if I’m in a situation where I feel uncomfortable or feel like I’m having a hard time with social cues, I can think of my improv training. Also…from getting up on stage so much, and having people laugh, I am feel confident that I am funny, like people laugh at the comedy I help produce when I’m on stage, so I have proof that I’m funny!
You are very funny. Do you have a favourite show to do?
To be honest my favourite part of performing is getting together with a group of people and making something.
That’s certainly something we’re keen to develop in Big Fork.
I guess my favourite regular show these days is Cool Story Bro. It’s just fun. It’s a low pressure show, but one that’s just fun every time. You know, I was just thinking earlier today, how enjoyable it is just to be surrounded by everyone at the jams. Just having fun.
I think that’s something I’m hyper aware of as Big Fork goes forward: Are there people in the room having fun together? If that’s true, then we’re doing OK. I’m sure that’s something we’ll always maintain as our core thing.
Do you have a person you look at in improv who you admire?
There’s so many different people. You know what, Trevor Sammon. Cause if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be doing improv. He was the manager of the local Games Workshop that I went to and he mentioned that he’d signed up to do some improv courses. I’d done Theatresports in high school, and when I was much younger I remember being home sick from school and watching Whose Line is it Anyway and showing my brother. But yes, I asked Trevor for the details and now here we are. So if it wasn’t for Trevor I never would have found this community.
Shoutout to Trevor Sammon. An excellent dude.
I’m very lucky I’ve had the opportunity to perform with him on a regular basis.
I remember when I first came to Brisbane he was a regular at Impro Mafia’s Speakeasy, and was just the most friendly and welcoming guy.
So where would you like to be, improv-wise in five years? Do you have any goals?
Improv is still very much a hobby for me, but I always want to be considered as someone to be relied upon in the Community. Like…”We need someone for this show!” “Oh – let’s get Logan”
I think you’re pretty much already there mate. You’re very reliable and an excellent player. What about the Brisbane improv community? Where do you see that in 5 years – you’re not leaving us like Leanne?
My plan is once I finish up at uni in 3-5 years, I’ll try my luck overseas.
Possibly England also! But that’s a few years away. Maybe I’ll go to Canada. I don’t know. But the Brisbane improv community. ...I’d like to see it become more recognised. I’d like it to be one of the pillars of the arts in Brisbane, to be considered not just a show that you see because you’re in the neighbourhood, but a show that people go out to see, where a potential audience member sees that one of their favourite performers is performing and they get excited because it will be a really good show.
Well it’s a pretty good time for improv in Brisbane at the moment. Impro Mafia’s latest show, Murder Village, just had a huge sold out run, and Big Fork theatre has sold out every improv show we've put on so far this year. What do you think improv can provide to an audience that other forms of art don’t?
It’s interaction – interactivity. The audience is part of the show and no one, not the audience, not the performers, nobody, knows what they are going to see that night. So that’s exciting. It’s a show where everyone can discover the story, or the themes, together. It’s like looking into another world, one where we get to say “What If?” and then see what happens. But doing that over and over again.
Are you a person that thrives on the unexpected?
Thrives is maybe not the best word, but…it’s like surfing. I don’t surf, by the way. You ride the wave, and…maybe I should choose another metaphor
NO, do that one! Improvise!
When an unexpected wave hits, if you manage to ride it to the end, it’s the best feeling in the world.
Wow, I’m not even going to put in the interview that you said that with your tongue in your cheek. I’m going to write that you said it super sincerely.
But then everyone will think I surf!
That’s a good thing!
But I’m scared of the ocean!
Cause I’m scared of most animals! I know how dangerous they are!
But you study animals?!
Yeah, I study zoology, archelogy and history – I’m going to become a teacher.
But you’re terrified of animals.
I know their secrets!
Wow. We always get the person who I last interviewed to ask a question of the next person, and Suren asked how improv has changed your day-to-day life, but I think you've answered that question already. Anything else you want to add here?
Improv is fun. I do not regret getting involved. Just give it a go.
It’s changed your life?
Definitely. I have a much more positive outlook since starting improv.
Thank you Logan.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
You can catch Logan at Cool Story Bro, check out our upcoming shows for our next performance.