The Sunday Interview: Caitlin Sweetlamb

It's back. The Sunday Interview. And it couldn't re-start with a more interesting interviewee. Gentlemen and gentlewomen, here's...

Caitlin Sweetlamb

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Age: 32
Years doing improv: 15
Web presence: http://www.gggimprov.com/
Troupes/shows you're in: Girls Girls Girls, The Big Bash

Why do you improvise?
The practice of improv challenges me to let go of my attachments and drop my ego. Over and over and over and over.

What's one thing improvisers can do right now to create better scenes?
Get physically present in your body! Talk less!

One of your strengths onstage is, I think, your calmness. What do you think about "calmness in improv"?
Dang. That's so funny. I DO NOT feel calm. Like, ever. Haha. I do think it's valuable to try and SLOW down. Try to focus more on the other person than on yourself. Be okay with silence. Treat everything that happens as the "right" thing. Easier said than done!

You're married to Jeremy Sweetlamb, an improviser, but you two don't have a duo improv troupe. Why not?
We did some duo shows together, pre-baby, and I think we'd be open to doing that again someday. We spend A LOT of time together as it is, teaching at the same school and parenting. Plus, we end up doing a lot of weird scene-work at home in our everyday lives... So, there doesn't feel like a need?

You're a new mom. Will you push improv onto your child?
SURE! I guess as much as I'll "push" anything...

Do you think improv has taught you lessons or strengthened traits that will serve you as a parent?
OH MY GOD, YES. Both improv and parenthood are all about going with the flow, being aware, being willing to sacrifice your selfish agenda in the service of something greater, practicing unconditional acceptance of the present moment and celebrating "failure." My daughter is, without a doubt, my greatest teacher. She has enabled me to access new levels of my own HUMANITY.

Who's the funniest human being you know? Who's the funniest human being you don't personally know?
Impossible question. People are funny in such different ways. The funniest human being I don't personally know? Louie CK. I definitely have a thing for reddish beards. 

I think that musical/singing improv is a whole different skill set than talky improv. You're great at musical improv. Am I right or wrong or somewhere in between?
I don't know that musical improv involves different skills... I think perhaps making up songs/dances requires a whole 'nother level of abandon and commitment, though - being willing to look foolish and fling yourself headfirst into the unknown.

What you're doing is so crazy that the audience has a lot more sympathy, I think, so you actually have a lot of wiggle-room! Plus, the bounds of reality are so much looser in a musical, so it truly feels like ANYTHING can happen if you just sell it.
 
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I once shaved my head and made a 500-mile pilgrimage on foot across northern Spain. It is the second-most bad-ass thing I've done (after natural childbirth).

Anything you want to plug?
If you ever get a chance to see a teen group called Of Mice and Mostly Women (they will have some shows at The Hideout and Coldtowne this winter/spring), you should check them out. They are high schoolers I've been coaching for several years and they kick ass. They blow plenty of adult troupes out of the water in my opinion. A bunch of them will be moving on to college in May, so there are limited chances to see them perform! Impermanence!

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