March 27, 2010

WICF interviews: Friar Sue Constantine> presenting the 2010 WICF Friars Club Audience Award

WICF: You are from the home of WICF-Boston; tell me about your involvement in comedy in Boston before making the move to New York?



Sue: Before moving to NYC, I performed for about 6 years in various improv and sketch shows around Boston as part of Improv Asylum, Improv Boston and the posthumous Tribe Theater. When I left Boston, I was just finishing up a year in the Improv Asylum touring company and work as a head writer with “The Uncommonwealth”- a group that produced comedic shorts.


WICF: What brought you to NYC?


Sue: I decided to take the plunge and move to NYC after signing a contract to do a pilot for A&E for an improv show called “I Never Said That.” As is the way with most pilots, it never got picked up for series and at the last moment, two of us were cut from the cast- me and another improviser who shall remain nameless. At the time, as a girl from Boston, I was just thrilled to have gotten the chance to audition so I really wasn’t that bummed. It was the scariest and most exhilarating experience of my life up until that point. I can’t believe I didn’t crap my pants. Not even once!


WICF: How are the comedy scenes in Boston & NYC different?


Sue: Hmmmm...if I had to pick one thing, I would say that Boston likes to do a lot of more theatrical, themed improv shows. For example, there is a great show called “Sea Mission” that I was a part of. It was an improvised tale about a submarine crew and their various aquatic adventures. The entire show was improvised, however, we had a set, characters we kept from week-to-week that we were really grounded in, and guest “villains” each week. Check out the Improv Boston website and you’ll see another great themed improv show called “Cabin Pressure” – a comedic look at the world of air travel. It’s getting a lot of great chatter. It’s produced by Michelle Barbera (WICF co-founder) - one of the most brilliant people I have ever worked with.


WICF: The Friars Club launched the FriarsClub Comedy Film Festival this September which you are Partnership Director for- what is the mission for that festival?


Sue: Our mission is to foster the next generation of comedy greats- and we’re going about it in a lot of new ways. This year’s festival will come in the form of comedic features, short films, documentaries, and creations from the world of improv and sketch. I’m getting really excited for the 2010 festival.


WICF: Tell me about FrISC the latest project you are working on for the Friars Club:


Sue: FrISC stands for- Friars Club Improv + Sketch Competition. It’s a two-tiered competition where improv and sketch groups from around the world submit videos of their work and we narrow it down to the 5 best improv & sketch groups for a live showdown at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in NYC on June 25th and June 26th. The winning improv troupe and sketch troupe then walk away with $10,000 each to produce a short film which will then debut at the 2nd Annual Friars Club Comedy Film Festival this September. FrISC ties in perfectly with our mission statement for the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival (FCCFF): Our mission is to foster the next generation of comedy filmmakers, and we believe that the improv and sketch communities are essential to making that happen. I’m incredibly proud to be producing and highlighting the type of comedy that I know and am in love with.


WICF: Why does the Friars Club wish to highlight a performer from WICF/ women in comedy in general?


Sue: The Friars Club looks to foster comedy of all kinds, and certainly an important part of this is to foster all of the great work being done by the female members of the comedy community.


WICF: You seem like you are part of a team pioneering a new era of activity for the Friars Club for a younger generation of people working in entertainment, is this an accurate statement?


Sue: In the words of Sarah “unintentionally hilarious” Palin: You betcha. We’ve had a lot of exciting things happening at the club in the past year. Our first-ever Comedy Film Festival premiered with an Oscar nominee for Best Picture- the Coen brother’s “A Serious Man.” We have Associates comedy nights on Tuesdays where the Associates (younger members of the club) produce stand-up, sketch or improv nights. I recently produced a sketch show with Two Girls for Five Bucks, with Myq Kaplan emceeing and also a great night of improv with Badman and Ragnarock from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre with WICF's very own Maria Ciampa emceeing. One of my goals is to highlight the genius that I have seen on the many, many stages across the country and websites on the internet.


WICF: Doesn't seem like enough activity, What else are you working on?

Sue: *laughs*- besides producing comedy shows at the Club, I’ve been working with the Lighthouse International Film Festival, and I’m on the advisory board for the Plymouth Rock Comedy film festival. Check 'em out!


WICF: Is it true you have a secret book that lists everyone who is and has ever been a Friar?


Sue: Yes. That is true. It's probably the least of all the secrets the club is known for. I’ll write a tell-all on my death bed.


WICF: Can I see it?


Sue: Sorry- It’s top secret! Only Friars can see it.


WICF: Pretty please?


Sue: You make a compelling argument. No.


WICF: What’s it like being a Friar?


Sue: Awesome. Fun. Crazy. Inspiring. The Friars are some of the most talented, passionate, hard-working people I know. And amazingly supportive of one another. There really is an air of camaraderie there that I love.


WICF: What is your goal as a female in comedy?


Sue: There’s so much I want to do. But if I had to answer in one sentence I would say this: I want to be a part of producing a show that I love as profoundly as I love Mr. Show. I can’t even tell you how happy that show makes me and how inspired I am by it. It continues to be the bees-knees for me.


WICF: Anything else?


Sue: Yes! I want to see your work! So submit your work to FrISC or the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival. And thank you for reading this blog and supporting women in comedy!


WICF: Thanks Sue! We look forward to following all of your exciting project! Get some rest, if possible. And, take some vitamin D. It's good for the worker bees ;)

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