3Ws – Kate Billingsley

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What do you create?

I’m a trilingual improv artist, performing in the U.S.—New York and Baltimore, Paris, France, and Seville, Spain, with my solo show CommuniKate:ArtAlive! The show focuses on artists, mostly Impressionists, whom I love and whom I want audiences to know and appreciate as well.

Things I’ve learned on the trilingual circuit: Clowning and physical comedy are a must for getting the character across, and in France my clown has to be quite cruel and haughty to get a laugh, while in Spain the clown is much louder and melodramatic with lots of singing and gestures, which suits audiences there. Also, European improv is performed in a smaller, more intimate café-style venue than here, where you disappear into the wings after a show, so you have to not be afraid to be right on top of your audience, feed off of them: they’re learning you, as you’re learning how to improv in their language. It’s super-gratifying.

 

 

Why do you create?

CommuniKate was borne out of me wanting to get back to France after living there for three-and-a-half years. I was lucky to find the perfect director, Mike Harris, executive creative director of BIG, the Baltimore Improv Group, to help me create this blend of traditional theater with improv and take it on the road.

 

 

What do you consume?

Chocolate, despite my best intentions. I LOVE the movie Before Sunrise to transport me elsewhere. My friend Esther Garboni’s Spanish poetry is amazing. I binge-watched UnReal, the Lifetime drama about reality television that has really textured female characters. I like to watch an episode of Amy Poehler’s podcast, Smart Girls at the Party, before I go to bed. She interviews “ women who are changing the world by being themselves.” It helps me nurture my weird.

 

Links

 Baltimore Improv Festival: http://www.baltimoreimprovfestival.org/performers/#communiKate (Monday, July 25th at 7:30 PM)

 

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3Ws – James Comtois

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What do you create?

Plays, mostly. Or to be more specific, scripts — I usually need a lot of help getting the scripts turned into full productions of plays. From about 2000 until about 2013, I co-ran a theatre company in New York called Nosedive Productions with our mutual pal Pete Boisvert. Through Nosedive, we staged several of my plays, which was a great deal of fun. I’ve recently stepped away from producing so I can just be a playwright for a little while. That may change in the future, but for now, I really like just being the chef (rather than the chef, the server, the maître-d’ and the busboy).

Most recently, my play, Monkeys, was staged in Chicago by the theatre company Random Acts and has been published by Chicago Drama Works.

 

Why do you create?

Wow, good question. I’m not sure I can provide a coherent answer to that. I’d like to say I create because it’s fun, but that’s a touch disingenuous (it can be absolutely grueling). I’d also like to say I create because it’s rewarding, but that’s not always the case (although it certainly can be at times). And I can’t even pretend to say I create for the money (even though those royalty checks are as welcome as those checks you get from your grandmother on your birthday). So why on earth do I do this?

I mean, I guess I ultimately create because…well, what else am I going to do?

 

What do you consume?

Wow. Lots of stuff, from TV to movies to podcasts to music to Snickers bars. My doctor would very much like me to cut back. On the Snickers bars, I mean. I don’t think he cares one bit about my TV binge-watching.

 

Links

3Ws – Kevin Venardos

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What do you create?

I make Circus. That covers a lot of ground, but I don’t take credit for it all… just for seeing that it gets done well wherever that VENARDOS sign is hanging. It takes an army of talent to make a Circus. And for all the artists, props, rigging, equipment, music, light, choreography, design, marketing, blood, sweat and tears that go into taking an idea all the way to a real production that can actually touch the hearts of others… well, at the end of the day, there really is only one thing we make. Memories. But the really good ones stay with you, sometimes forever. Those are the memories I want to make for other people. I want to help break down walls with our little joyous operation, by showing others, just by our presence, that anything is possible if you work hard and you never, never, ever give up.

 

Why do you create?

If I knew the answer to that question, maybe I would have chosen an easier road. I’ll let my good friend Kermit the Frog answer it for me:

“Have you been half asleep, and have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name. 
Just like the sweet song that calls the young sailor, 
The voice might be one and the same. 
And I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it. 
It’s something that I’m supposed to be.”

 

 

What do you consume?

Experience, in large quantities. Hours tuned in to NPR. The New York Times. When seeking inspiration for a new piece/act/video I consume LOTS of music. Music is probably my greatest source of inspiration. Inside that meter, I find order and structure that allows my creativity to blossom. Apples. Gala and Fuji are my favorites.

Links

Website: www.VenardosCircus.com

Twitter: @kevinvenardos

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kevin.venardos

Instagram: www.instagram.com/venardos

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/kevinvenardos