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CSz BackStage with Liam Fanning

Liam Fanning on improv field

© 2016 Rick Sleeman

In the first of our new series, "CSz Backstage" we will be asking players from ComedySportz® Richmond to tell us a little about themselves and their outlook on improv. This week we check in with Liam Fanning. Liam joined CSz in April of 2012. Prior to becoming a Major League Player, he was a part of the High School League.

How do you spend your time, when not improvising with CSz Richmond?

“When not at CSz (or work) I am a Theatre student at VCU studying to get my Bachelor’s in 2018. I also enjoy grocery shopping and seeing movies.”

Why Improv?

“Why not? Improv is so simple and accessible. It is easy to pick up and life-changing to really master. There are endless possibilities and applications on and off the stage (or field). Improv is whatever you make it and only lasts as long as you need it to. There is so much beauty to its impermanence. It’s an art that is both delicate and resilient, and opens my eyes to so much.”

What is one important thing you have learned from improv?

“Just one? To just go with it. Don’t be a wall, go with the flow and things will turn out for the better.”

What are your five favorite things about CSz Richmond? Why?

“In no particular order:

I love our field (stage). It’s the perfect improv stage, not too big or too small. With its window with a curtain, and the two doors, and even the Vader box. It’s got everything you need.

I love our leagues. The leagues work to get more talent into the door, especially from those who might be afraid to try improv.

I love our players! These are some of the coolest people I have ever met, and learning about them teaches me so much about myself.

I love our outreach. We bring a lot of good to the community both with fundraisers for worthy causes and by bringing improv and the art of performance in general to so many new people.

I love our Cathy Garmon. She’s a rockstar.”

Many Loyal Fans attend classes and workshops at CSz. Are there memories that stand out from classes or workshops?

“I took a workshop on puns my second Festivus. It was incredibly eye-opening to see all the mechanics that really go into the structure of a joke, how much thought it really requires to make a joke that lands well.”

What are your five favorite games? Why?

“I really love scene games like New Choice, Replay or Countdown (any variety). I love that they really require you to do something totally different than what you had planned, and they really get me out of my head. I find the best scenes are scenes that really just come out of the ether.

I really love the game Advice Panel, it showcases our abilities to make characters and you never know who you will create!

I really, really, really, really, really, love 5 Thingz! It’s a game I always look forward to, in every capacity. I love watching it, I love guessing for it. I love giving clues. I love discussing it. It’s something I can really dig my teeth into because there is no real right or wrong way to do it and it just begs for creativity. It really is a test of how we can effectively communicate on a human level without the rigidity of language. We have to focus on the context, iconicity, and human connection.”

What is your improv superpower?

“I like to think it’s my ability to stay in the moment and view things from lots of different perspectives at one.”

With whom would you most like to perform improv?

“Oprah or the Dalai Lama. ‘Nuff said!”

What advice do you have for all the improvisers in training out there?

“Don’t doubt yourself, you are where you need to be.

Listen with your eyes and ears and really pay attention to what people are saying to you, both verbally and nonverbally, on and off the field.

Give yourself a clean slate, don’t hold onto things that weigh you down.

Laugh at yourself.”

Who would you want a backstage pass to see?

"Jen Lewis, Scott Ingwerson, Fern Gomez, Susan Scovil, Cathy Gamon, Gege Beale"

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