Meet Joe McGowan and Phil Schramm of Side Pickle

Have you heard of Side Pickle? If you’re from Sacramento it’s likely that you’ll say “no.” That should be said with a sign of sadness and sadness, too, since they’re amazing. It’s not a good thing to be able to experience a Side Pickle.

But, be encouraged!

Side Pickle from Minneapolis is set to arrive at Sacramento today Saturday! We had the chance to talk with Joe McGowan and Phil Schramm of Side Pickle about some questions…

Question: What year and from where did you first begin to experiment?

Answer: Phil – I started performing improv in my freshman year at St. Olaf College in 2009, and the group was predominantly short-form but began to explore longer-form as time progressed. When I graduated in 2013 I began taking regular classes for long-form improvisation classes at Huge Theater.

Q: Joe – I first was introduced to the phenomenon while I was within New York. I was in Americorps where we were able to have present SNL actor Sasheer Zamata to come in and instruct us on some games that we could play with our clients. I was in love on that day! Unfortunately, I was unable to afford the classes I needed at that time which put my acting goals in limbo. Four years later, I began lessons at HUGE Theater in Minneapolis and I haven’t looked back since.

Q: Which groups and people were your first fascinations and influencers?

Q: Phil – I could discuss my top bands and artists for days, since everything I watch has been learned something from so I’ll keep them to a couple of. It was an improv group named Splendid Things in Minneapolis that was among the most entertaining and funny groups I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve always aspired to be just like the improvisers from that group. They were fast and emotional. They also featured some out there, yet grounded scenes. Additionally, Jill Bernard always amazes me with her unique music Drum Machine, and I am grateful to call Jill a close friend. In addition I draw heavily by my theater-based scripts as well, particularly that of the Theater of the Absurd (favorite playwrights include Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco). I am drawn to the style of scripted theatre in such a way that my work is often in a way influenced by into it.

Q: Joe – I am an avid show-goer and workshop fanatic! When I was just starting out, I attended every workshop, class or show I could manage to get my hands on. If I could choose one of the most influential people, it is without doubt my 101/201 class teacher Molly Chase. She taught me the perfect balance of confidence and discipline. Her ability to absorb all the terrifying “rules” of improv and pack them into tiny packets of information that is fun and relevant which can be easily found on the stage. For troupes, that would be a good choice is The Mess based out of Minneapolis. The goal of this troupe is to have more than one person in the stage at the same time with a high level of energy, never letting up. They made it appear easy enough that I wanted to sit and observe what they were able to accomplish every week without difficulty.

Q: How did your group get together?

The answer is Phil A: Phil I box the office at the Huge Theater , in Minneapolis and Joe had just completed one of the drop-in classes held at Huge (this was around 1 year back). Joe was just beginning to take classes, and I had completed the track just a couple of months earlier. Joe took a bite of a sandwich at an eatery nearby and we started talking and laughing about sandwiches, while we began to look for some information about sandwiches on the internet. Joe offered me join a jam which he began and it was off to a good start. The name of our group is derived by our love for sandwiches, since it’s not a true sandwich unless it’s served with a pickle.

A: Joe – Phil put it so perfectly! I’d like to add I knew then how our enthusiasm and energy would be displayed on the stage.

Question: What are love about your band?

The answer is Phil I enjoy the freedom between both of us which lets us completely trust in the actions of each other. Whatever the situation there will always be an interaction that is fun whether it is theatrically or comically. I always be confident that Joe on stage to provide for me the most effective possible choices based on his knowledge.

Q: Joe I love it we meet eyes and we agree. That spark ignites into a gorgeous but also crazy scene! We absolutely love to prank our partners out in scenes, and then repeating it to ensure our viewers’ entertainment. Also, nobody will listen to me like Phil does. He’s always ready to jump on everything and anything I can throw at him.

A: Improv can be exhilarating. What do you think are the most exciting times in your career?

Q: Phil – The most interesting moments that I can remember from Side Pickle can be the manner in which Joe and me surprise each other during each performance. We constantly find innovative ways to present scenes, approach characters, to use distinctive spaces, and each show is often an adventure of discovery.

The answer is Joe A: Joe Phil has the knack of tying all of the pieces together within the last minute of the set. It takes our work to a completely new level each time. We also aren’t scared to break the fourth wall and speak to each other in improvisers, or directly towards the spectators. When it is done properly, it will create an unforgettable experience for everyone.

Q: What is the best way to define what is the difference between a successful show from weak one?

The answer is Phil for improv an improv effective performance comes down to respect. Are you respecting the space? Are you respectful of the audience? Are you respectful of the Improv? Are you respecting one another on the stage? Are you putting yourself in a good light? I’m all for respect when it’s time to perform performances, and when I see performers breaking the human rules I am turned off from their performances. When I say”respect” I’m not necessarily simply mean “being polite”, I mean it respecting the intellect of the audience and your own personal intelligence simultaneously. If you take care with your work, people are likely to be engaged.

Q: Joe – It all is tied to one thing. Show me that you truly care about why that you’re there. Don’t rest your back on the stage Dress like you know you would perform and make use of the entire stage, it’s there to serve a purpose! Every second you spend performing is a part of the performance. Don’t miss a minute of it!

Q What is the most significant thing you’ve learned as an impersonator?

A: Phil – “You are always enough.” Whatever you do what you do, your identity, the place you are from, what you’re from you are, you’ll never need to be anything more than the things you bring to the table. Every decision you make within the course of a scene is precisely what the scene requires. I used to be in awe of actors who were well-educated and could easily recite information about history or pop culture references with the utmost accuracy of their hands I was enticed into thinking that any decision I made wouldn’t be as effective than it might be. Improv auditions scared me because I were playing with people who I believed were significantly better than me. I was thinking that “I would never be as good as them”, and I believed that I had let my stage partners down due to my lack of character. After I decided to take a step back and focused on myself and improving myself (at one point in my reflection I read this quote) I began to realize that I’m “enough” to my scene partners. My experiences and choices give the precise amount of weight required for every scene. Every person brings something different to their improv. This is just what you need and is all that is required. You already have the equipment you require to create excellent Improv. While it’s appropriate to learn through things (art or movies, historical events, and so on. ) but it isn’t necessary to be an excellent actor.

The answer is Joe – – Take what’s positive and negative aspects of your improvised analysis and transform it into simple and hard. By removing the negative emotions from your mind will enable you to be able to clearly perceive what’s taking place on the court and enable you to fully learn. I learned this concept in the text “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey.

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