A chat with WIT’s featured ensemble: LIZARD GIRL
After two years as a WIT Harold team, Lizard Girl has become a Lizard Woman. Sort of.
Along with Poetic Resistance and Lena Dunham, Lizard Girl is now one of WIT’s featured ensembles. Team members Mikey Blunschi, David Brescia-Wiler, Maria Halloran, Shealy Molpus, Jessica Norman, Bryce Slinger, Jared Smith, and Lauren Woody got together to tell us a little bit about where they’ve been, where they are going, and how basketball plays an important part in their group identity.
Your Featured Ensemble page is high on entertainment, low on practical details. Could you tell us what a Lizard Girl show is like?
Our show is a Spokane (aka Pretty Flower) format. We start with a non-geographic location suggestion from the audience and then begin a monoscene exploring the world and characters through “spokes” that “follow the fun” until we get back to the monoscene. Our shows are fast and furious, we all clock an average of 5k steps and 130 bpm for the 25 minutes. We relish the weird. Give us your most boring non-geographic location, and we’re gonna make it weird. And to the man yelling out “prison” or “jail” or “prison cafeteria” at every show as the suggestion, we would like to politely but formally decline that suggestion here.
Mikey adds: Also to the guy who yelled out “plantation” as the suggestion at our last Harold night, you’re now on an FBI watch list.
Can you tell us the story of Lizard Girl? What made you such a cohesive team?
In the beginning, God created the sun and the earth. On the fifth day, he created LIZARD GIRL. We were put here to play basketball together and perform on Harold Night. Our first practice space was in a basketball court in the basement of CentroNia that is very wet.
Jessica adds: It gave me pneumonia. I have no scientific facts to back this up, but I got pneumonia in July.
Bryce adds: Jess and I both had stays at the five-star accommodations of Sibley Hospital during our first cycle together.
This basketball court holds a special place in our hearts as the place we practiced our free throws, contracted diseases, and became LIZARD GIRL.
As a Harold team, LG has worked under two great coaches (Daddy Dan Milliken and Papa Patrick Fleury) and some of the common threads that have bound us together have been a shared love of big choices and surprise, dedication to both the craft and the team (rehearsals and shows with all team members present are pretty commonplace), and a solid balance of play styles. We are all very different people offstage with different perspectives, which we feel contributes to that onstage magic. I think part of the story of LG is that we may have an unhealthy addiction to improv, each other, and of course, The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow.
Now that you aren’t a Harold team, what creative directions are you exploring?
So we sat and we talked about the rest of our improv lives, where we are gonna be when Maria turns 25… And we all feel really excited about doing some genre pieces and mapping them onto existing formats with some tweaks to make it our own. We recognize that a lot of us love supernatural phenomenon, cerebral thrillers, and ghosts in general so stay tuned for that. There’s a classic movie poster for “Dracula’s Daughter” that has a scroll across the top that says “She gives you that weird feeling!” which has essentially become our mantra.
What are you looking forward to as a new featured ensemble?
Stretching our creative LIZARD muscles in terms of format and shaking things up. We’re excited to be at the steering wheel of the creative direction of our shows and use the Harold muscles we toned up in our three years in the program.
We’ve heard that there is an exclusive VIP club in the basement of Source reserved for Featured Ensembles that we’re ready to tear up.
Can audiences expect any reptile-based improv at all?
*Newsflash* reptiles (specifically lizard people) already control all the highest levels of government in our country so it would be foolish of us not to play to them if we have any hope of surviving as a species.
See Lizard Girl in the WIT Road Show at The DC Arts Center this Thursday at 7:30PM with Vintage and and The High Fivers, and Thursday, May 23, at 7:30PM with Wisconsin Laugh Trip and Back in the DMVirginia.