Interviewing The Peapod Squad For STIR

Despite not constantly updating this blog with more pieces, I actually have been doing a lot of writing lately (I know, hard to believe). In addition to, I have been doing a lot of free lance stuff for Clark campus related publishings. Most recently, I conducted an interview with the Peapod Squad’s Danny Zeliger for STIR magazine. I got to discuss in great detail with Danny about his experiences in improv/theater and being in what’s arguably the campus’ most recognized comedy troupe. However, because of limited space, many questions and responses had to be left out of the actual piece in the magazine. So with that in mind, I decided to post a few of the responses that you wont see in the magazine (a little exclusive blog stuff you could say). So check out below (or after the hit) some of the questions that didn’t make it into the magazine. Make sure to pick up a copy of this semester’s STIR Magazine (it should be out before the end of the semester, though who knows) to read the actual interview! Above, you can watch video of Danny and the Squad live in action (it’s actually two skits, with Danny in the second one).

So you’ve been apart of the Peapod Squad since your freshmen year (Fall 2008). Are there any performances or special occasions that really stand out?
Hmm, I don’t know. Every performance is great. Every rehearsal is great. I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to pick out one thing from the “salad of improv”. I can tell you the low point though (ha ha).

Well then what would be that low point?
Okay! Well, I have an answer for you (ha ha). The low point of my improvising career was making a tasteless joke … There is a little bit of a story (ha ha). Ummm….well tasteless humor is great. We love it at Peapod! We try to keep our shows “clean”, but if you’re going to see Peapod there is going to be some tasteless shit and it’s going to be funny. However, we were invited to a benefit show. And that benefit show was for Haiti, and I made a Haiti joke at that benefit show about the Earthquake. And no one laughed! Everyone kind of like went “ooooh, no that’s….ooo”. It was really, really awful. I hid myself away for a few days. So you got to be careful (ha ha).

In addition to performing with Peapod Squad, you’ve also performed in on-campus theater plays, including roles in Welcome To The Moon and Columbinust. Can you explain how the thrill from performing in a play differs from performing improve?
Hmm … I guess it’s kind of like the difference between playing chess and playing twister (ha ha). Both can be a lot of fun and very satisfying. Chess is more of I guess an arch to play, but twister is just so much fun!

I take it chess is theater and improv is twister then? (ha ha)
Twister of course is the improv! (ha ha)

Is one more challenging then the other?
At this point I’m pretty comfortable with Peapod shows. It’s like, “We’re having a show, great! Let’s go at it and do it! Lets go fuck shit up!” There is definitely more of a “fuck it” type of attitude with improv which fuels the performer/audience dynamic, like at Peapod shows at the Little Center, which is really great. But yeah for me, play acting is harder because it’s not something I’m familiar with. I’m like learning how to be a better actor. So yeah, it can be really hard.

How do you manage balancing the time you spend between Peapod, theater and school? How do you prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed?
I don’t (ha ha). It is overwhelming … (ha ha)

Any recommendations for those who do want to take on so many commitments then?
I guess on the one hand, I want to say “just do it”. But …yeah just balance your time. Don’t make stupid commitments, like make sure you’re going to be able to do it. And then sometimes, you just get fucked! You have two performances, which you’re rehearsing for every day of the week, and five essays due. And you’re just fucked! It happens, too bad, suck it up! You’re going to get bad grades in school (ha ha) … but whatever, it’s worth it.

What is the best way for an aspiring improv or theater actor to get involved in acting at Clark, or in Worcester for that matter?
Well I don’t know much about Worcester … but at Clark, you can become apart of the CUPS (Clark University Players’ Society) email listing. You’ll get information about auditions. Then just go to all of the auditions. Everyone says the more you audition the better you’ll get at it. Like, I am the worse at auditions. I get so nervous and just fuck everything up. I forget all of my lines. It’s terrible (ha ha).

But the more practice the better you get?
Definitely! Just like with anything, auditioning too.

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