Un-Scripted Theater Company creates smart, innovative, and entertaining improvised theater that delights audiences and advances the craft and art of improvisation.
Andy Sarouhan is a Bay Area native. His improvisation training began in 1992, when he joined his high school improvisation team. That event started a chain reaction that eventually resulted in a BA in Theatre from UC San Diego and an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside. Since 2003, Andy has improvised professionally with Flash Family and the Un-Scripted Theater Company, joining the Un-Scripted ensemble in 2013. In 2015, he and fellow Un-Scripted ensemble member created Andy & Jerry are The Trifecta, a popular improvised show that has been featured at the San Francisco Improvisation Festival and has included some tremendous guest improvisers. Andy has also been a busy improvisation coach since 2001, leading courses for ImprovWorks, UC Riverside, American Conservatory Theater, Cal Shakes, BATS Improv, Un-Scripted Theater Company, and some incredible high school improv troupes in San Mateo. Andy is a frequent director for Un-Scripted Theater Company, including the improvised formats Beloved Strangers, Life in SF, and The Short & The Long of It.
Christian Utzman is a full time actor, teacher, and an original founding member of the Un-Scripted Theater Company. Christian spends much of his free time writing about the improvisational theory behind the work here at the Un-Scripted Theater Company. You can find out more about his writings at improvactor.com. If you have any questions about how we do what we do, or you need help choosing a drink at our concessions counter, please feel free to speak with him before or after the show. (He's also our concessions buyer.)
David Boyll has appeared in over one hundred improvised plays and musicals with Un-Scripted Theater Company since 2013. He’s performed at numerous improv festivals and at SF Sketchfest with the critically acclaimed Improv Lab. Recent theatre credits: Felix in The Odd Couple (Ross Valley Players), Partition (Indra’s Net), Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night (Custom Made). David lives in San Francisco with Molly, his wife of over 25 years.
Derek Cochran is enjoying his twentieth year performing improvisation in the Bay Area. Throughout those years, he was inspired by and fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented improvisers in the country. He credits his love of long form improvisation to his early instructors, Diane Rachel and Carol Hazenfield, for showing him that improv can go beyond a simple funny game and create a rich tapestry of all kinds of stories. Currently he is proud to work with the Un-Scripted Theater Company ensemble, where they allow him to obey the inscrutable exultation of his soul. He gives thanks to his family, his Treasure Island Pirate dogs, and to all the improvisers who he has worked with, been taught by, and failed spectacularly with; throughout the years.
"Hell is empty and all the devils are here." ~ The Tempest
Ian was first exposed to improv as an eleven-year-old in a class at Walnut Street Theatre! Since then, he's performed in numerous sketch and improv groups in Philadelphia and the Bay Area, including the Stanford Fleet Street Singers and Stanford Improvisors. His favorite gig has been teaching improvisational theater at Hillsdale High School with the most talented group of teenagers he's ever met. When the sun's out, Ian does marketing for GreatNonprofits and serves as the chair of the Advisory Board for Camp Kesem at Stanford.
Jerry Ruoti has been performing with Un-Scripted Theater Company since 2013. Jerry is a graduate of BATS Improv. He can be seen performing in Un-Scripted’s late night show Dash, as well as Mission Improv’s Improvised 80’s Teen Movie. Jerry also performs as one third of the improv trio, Improv Lab. Prior to finding improv, Jerry studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. While at Cornell, Jerry directed, wrote and performed in the sketch comedy group, Humor Us!
Karen got her improv start with Pan Theater, Oakland, in 2013 and has been a musician most of her life, playing drums, keys, guitar and singing with various bands from synth pop to 60’s go-go to prog rock. She’s a member of the indie troupe Jurassic Pope and coaches and facilitates corporate improv gigs throughout Bay Area. Karen is also an associate producer for both the San Francisco Improv Festival and West Coast Musical Improv Fest and can sometimes be seen performing with the stand-up/improv combo YES, stAND Up! In her free time, Karen is honing her musical chops to become an improv accompanist — super fun!
Melissa is a member of the Un-Scripted Theater Company artistic staff and co-founder of their weekly late-night improv comedy show DASH. She has performed, directed, and taught improv for 15 years in San Francisco, Boston, and New York. She is a former longtime cast member at ImprovBoston, appearing in their Nickelodeon Award-winning Family Show among many others, and has also appeared on the Upright Citizens Brigade and BATS stages.
Merrill Gruver has been performing with the Un-Scripted Theater Company since 2009, and joined the artistic staff in 2011. She studied acting at Brown University and The Neighborhood Playhouse under Sanford Meisner. Merrill is a graduate of BATS improv and performed regularly with The Sunday Players. She is a member of Shakespeare's Stepchild, which performs improvised Shakespeare in Dolores Park. Merrill teaches drama at Peninsula School.
Michael Fleming got his first taste of staged improvisation some years ago and has been hooked ever since. He is delighted to be part of the Un-Scripted Theater Company, and has also performed with Out of Line, on the BATS stage, and at a variety of other venues in the Bay Area. Michael has an enduring love of song, stories and making things up and feels unreasonably lucky to be able to do so with such a talented group of folks.
Molly Robertson is a Bay Area tour guide. She studied marketing at Wagner College and improv at Upright Citizens Brigade for over four years in New York. Following school, she headed back to the Bay where she began performing with Un-Scripted. She took a few years to travel around the world with Up with People and finally made her way back to the Bay again. She is happy to have a place to improvise since she is not allowed to make things up on tour.
Paul Holman-Kursky has been a member of Un-Scripted Theater Company since 2010 and helped create its late-night freeform comedy show, DASH. He has performed and taught improv for over 15 years, at theaters in Boston and San Francisco and at workshops and festivals around the world. He began his improv training at ImprovBoston, where he helped found the Nickelodeon award–winning Family Show and performed improv, sketch, and standup comedy for 5 years. Outside the theater he works in nonprofit marketing and is Un-Scripted’s resident trivia nerd.
Peter Chapman is an executive coach by day and improviser by night. He learned about improv at Stanford, which is also where he learned about being queer and his relationship with depression. A nerd at heart, he has directed shows such as Space Trip and Adventure Quest. When he’s not working, he can usually be found somewhere on the California coastline or cooking with a lot of butter.
Shara Tonn is an improviser, actor, clown and teacher based in San Francisco. She has been an ensemble member at Un-Scripted Theater Company since 2015. An alumna of the Stanford Improvisors and San Francisco Circus Center’s Clown Conservatory, Shara also performs with her duo Mona and Shara Do Improv as well as a variety of Bay Area comedy shows. When not bathed in stage lights, she works with the Medical Clown Project of San Francisco, acts and clowns in local gigs, does freelance science writing and teaches with a number of organizations including Stagebridge, Circus of Smiles, Aragon High School, and BATS Improv.
Rachel has been performing in improv theater officially since she was 13, and performing unofficially her entire life. While offstage, she enjoys knitting sweaters of variable quality, eating foods that include salted caramel, and watching corny true crime television shows from the 90s. Rachel will also be performing with Un-Scripted this summer. Unfortunately, Pluto the Shih Tzu (pictured) did not make it through auditions and will not be performing in any Un-Scripted shows.
Steven Anacker first caught the improv bug in the mid-‘90s as a member of Short Order Theater in New York City. In San Francisco, Steven has been lucky enough to play with the Leela Theatre, Secret Improv Society and BATS, as well as experimenting with new formats as a founding member of BoyGirlBoy, TwoXFour and the Improv Artists. Steven is thrilled to join the talented members of Un-Scripted Theater Company. Steven is thrilled to perform Swipe Right for the first time.
Susie Sargent discovered and fell in love with improv over 20 years ago and enjoys sharing her passion through training, teaching and performing. She has taught the skills of improvisation to students aged 3 – 80. Susie is an ensemble and staff member of Un-Scripted Theater Company and loves surprising the audience and creating rich and diverse characters. Her ideal evening at home is a dinner party with improvisors who are likely to break into interpretative dance at any moment.
VanessaSpeed is originally from New York but calls the Bay Area her forever home. She grew up participating in any musical that would have her, but didn't stray from scripted theater until 2009, when she began her improv training at Pan Theater. She originally thought that improv would lead her towards a career in stand-up comedy, before discovering her true love, theatrical improvisation, at the Un-Scripted Theater Company. She first performed with the company in 2011, and joined its ensemble in 2012. She enjoys bringing music, characters with unspoken histories, and dynamic relationships to her work. Her most recent improvisational efforts center around making up songs, games and stories for her young daughter.
Mona Thompson has been performing with Un-Scripted Theater Company since 2014 and officially joined the ensemble in 2015. She began improvising in high school in Washington DC, continued in college as a member of the Stanford Improvisors (SImps, for short), and never looked back. She currently lives in San Francisco and teaches improv to theater students and professionals all over the Bay Area. Learn more at monajthompson.com.
Olivia Puerta first discovered improv at age 9 as a student of First Stage Theater Academy in her hometown, Milwaukee, WI. A dedicated theater kid, she continued to study and perform theater and vocal music in all her formative years. Olivia has been studying and performing improv in San Francisco since 2012, training primarily with Endgames Improv, where she now teaches. She performs weekly with San Francisco Tonight and is thrilled to me a member of Un-Scripted Theater Company's performing ensemble.
Aaron is a wandering thought. He was a founding member of WHJ in Austin, starting the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. Then he was in IGP at Harvard. Then he sort of did physics for a while. Then he was in American Standard in NYC. Then Start-Trekkin NYC, the Star Trek themed improv masterpiece. Then he was in San Francisco interviewing robots...no one is quite sure why. But he does seem happy to be working with such wonderful people.
Alan is an improvisor, actor, director, and internationally produced, award-winning playwright. He's worked with many theater companies, from the Kokopelli Theater Co. in Anchorage to the Three Wise Monkeys Theater Co. in San Francisco, to Teatro del Navile in Italy. Alan's play, Il Lago, was performed in Bologna, Italy in May 2005. He performed with BATS Improv from June of 2000 to January 2003 and is proud to be a founding member of The Un-Scripted Theater Company. During the day, he no longer works for a small toy company.
Allison began doing improv in college, with Roadkill Buffet (MIT's premiere—and only—improv group), after which she branched out to perform with Post-Modern Avengers and Improv Boston on the east coast, and with DASH, Hobofish, the Pear Improv Troupe, and Pure Moxie Players in the Bay Area. She has taught improv to management consultants and cybersecurity professionals, both of whom found that it allowed them to invent technical expertise more easily. When not performing, Allison works in cybersecurity research; if you work in security and are interested in performance art, ask her about joining her comedy group Security Theater.
Amber Dyson has worked in educational theatre for thirteen years. A Bay Area native, she is currently directing BACT's Advanced Performers production of Legally Blonde Jr., which will compete at Junior Theatre Festival West in February. A recent recipient of the Freddie G. Fellowship for excellence in musical theatre education, Amber doesn’t believe for one second that you can’t sing.
MAURICE ANDRÉ SAN-CHEZ has earned a B.F.A. in Music Theatre from the University of Texas El Paso. He is a teaching artist with Bay Area Children’s Theatre (BACT) in several of their educational programs and has been working with youth since 2008. He is also a company member with the Bonfire Makers a Theatre collective that creates political performance gathered from community stories, and ensemble collaboration, which embraces theatre as a people’s tool for resistance. His continued work with youth and his new work teaching theatre in the prison system with Red Ladder Theatre has inspired him to go back to school to get his Master’s in Education to continue shaping, inspiring, and empowering young minds for a brighter future!
Basel Al-Naffouri began his theater journey at MIT where he took his first acting classes. While there, he performed in MIT’s productions of Seven Menus and The Elephant, Your Majesty.
After moving to the Bay Area, he was introduced to improv by taking his first class at BATS in 2005. Soon after, Basel was invited to perform with the BATS Sunday Players and was a founding member of Double Entendre and Out of Line. He has also produced, directed and acted in Improvised Arabian Nights. Basel has taught improv workshops both locally and internationally. He had led trainings with organizations such as Google and Aswat, improv troupes like Double Entendre and Audible Clique and internationally at KAUST University in Saudi Arabia and Laban in Lebanon.
Bill Stahl has been a San Francisco based improviser for the past seven years. He has trained at BATS Improv and was a guest with the mainstage BATS company for the nine-month 2012/2013 season. Bill occasionally runs workshops and guests at BATS. Bill was a guest with the Un-Scripted Theater Company for the first time in 2015 with the cast of And it All Went to Hell, and most recently with the 2018 show Love at First Sight.
Brad Gottesman is thrilled to perform in Super Scene at Un-Scripted Theater Company. Brad studied improv at UCLA and UCB Theatre and has performing for ten years. Since moving to the Bay Area, Brad has performed in numerous shows through Endgames Improv, Un-Scripted Theater Company and Pure Moxie Players.
Brittany is very excited to join the As the Fog Rolls In cast. She discovered improv during play practice in college and enthusiastically went on to join Stanford Improvisors (SImps). Brittany has continued taking improv classes in San Francisco post-college and is always looking for opportunities to learn and perform. Currently, Brittany performs with DASH, the late night show at Un-Scripted Theater Company, and has performed with a group of former SImps, Minerva, at Femprovisers fest the past couple of years. In her free time, Brittany loves cooking and watching movies.
Bryce has been working in improv and theatre for 30 years this year. Bryce has graduated from actor training programs at a lot of three letter theater companies. He started doing shows with Un-Scripted in 2004 and joined the company in 2008. He also performs around the bay area with other theatre companies. His stand-out role was the title role in the world premiere of Zippy the Pinhead in Fun: The Concept.
Carter fell in love with improv in sixth grade and has been doing it ever since. He’s studied improv at BATS, ACT, and UCLA, performed in a few school and local theatrical productions, and was the founder and coach of his high school improv troupe, May Contain Nuts—yes, he’s young enough that many of his current résumé-worthy achievements happened in high school. He’s currently a student at Stanford University, where he’s majoring in an as-yet- indeterminate academic subject and hoping to pursue a career in front of and/or behind the camera. In his spare time, he can be found singing loudly and making movies, although not always at the same time.
Charlieis so thankful to be a part of the DASH cast. He started his improv career as one of the founding members of the San Mateo High School Improv Team. He continued as the founder of the short-lived but much-loved improv team, Trash Monsters. Charlie hopes to do improv throughout the rest of his life, and maybe even beyond? In his spare time, Charlie enjoys reading and listening to comedy podcasts.
Christina is very happy to be performing with Un-Scripted. An Arizona native, she is also glad to be experiencing a big California adventure. She has improvised with National Comedy Theatre Phoenix and The Charles Darwin Experience. Christina recently performed via script at Altarena Playhouse and Actors Ensemble of Berkeley. When not busy with theater, she is usually doodling, dabbling, or eating.
Former director of BATS’ Improv @ Work corporate engagement programs, Chris has led applied improvisation sessions for more than 100 workplaces, including Genentech, UCSF, and Google. Chris delights in facilitating teams to develop leadership, presence, creativity, adaptability, communication, storytelling, teamwork, and collaboration. He has taught improv for 11 years at BATS’ School of Improv and has performed on ten different BATS’ CaveMatch improv ensembles. A Benjamin N. Duke Leadership Scholar graduate of Duke University, Chris enjoys German strategy-based board games, Texas Hold’em, and writing poetry for life-work balance. Actually, his whole life centers on play.
Clare Bierman is a recent University of San Francisco grad, a terrible retail associate, and a professional unpaid intern. She has been improvising since 2012, and has graced stages in her real home (Los Angeles), her adopted home (San Francisco) and her dream home (Copenhagen) where she has been garnered such real reviews as "not as embarrassing as I expected" and "has resting constipation face." When not performing with Dash, she can be found rolling her own sushi and whistling at birds.
Clay Robeson has been improvising for nearly 20 years now. Starting out in Boston he studied, then performed and taught with the Improv Asylum, the Improv Foundry and Third Grade Trick. Since returning to the West Coast, Clay has worked with the Jesters of Yes, been a producer for the San Francisco Improv Festival (2006 to 2009), and most importantly, a longtime member of Un-Scripted. When not making things up on stage, you can find him wandering the city taking photographs or working on a puppet sci-fi web drama. You can also see him walking away from the camera in two different scenes (about 7 seconds worth) in High School Musical 3.
In his copious spare time, he volunteers with City Grazing, a non-profit goat sanctuary out on Hunter's Point.
Dana Cory improvised jazz professionally before discovering theater improv, and has been joyfully combining both for nearly twenty years. An alumna of BATS Improv and ImprovWorks, she has guested with many Los Angeles and San Francisco sketch and improv groups, played for years with SF fave Harold troupe SNAFU, and is a cast member of the Un-Scripted Theater Company’s late-night Saturday hit show DASH. Dana performs and produces music, comedy, and improv in a variety of media.
Dave Dyson (Salinas, CA) is a working actor, improvisor, voiceover artist and writer. Since finding improv in 1996, he’s worked with East Bay Improv, BATS Improv, co-founded The Fibbs, and joined Un-Scripted shortly after it formed in 2003. Check him out in Unflinching Triumph (now available on dvd), and look for a staged “sing” next spring of his zombie-themed parody sequel to Jesus Christ Superstar (www.3dayslater.net)...
Dave was once snowed on in the mountains of India -- in the month of August.
Devika is ecstatic to be in the DASH cast! She has been performing since 2008, initially at Cupertino High School with ComedySportz San Jose's High School League — a team she accidentally auditioned for in the process of supporting a friend and fellow auditioner. The art form brought vitality to her previously timid demeanor and she quickly fell in love with the freedom of creating art out of thin air. Her improv journey continued with D1 Improv at Seattle University and now, as a cast member of DASH. Devika has performed at The Ohlone College High School Theatre Festival, The College Improv Tournament (CIT), The Northwest Convention of Intercollegiate Improv (NCII), and San Francisco's very own Femproviser Fest.
David Madison (San Francisco, CA) first took the plunge into improv in 2004. He directed a weekly improv jam for many years and has performed with the Un-Scripted Theater Company, BATS main company, Out of Line and a variety of other groups, and is now the artistic director of the San Francisco troupe Well Endowed.
David is also an internationally renowned dance instructor, as well as Time Magazine's Person Of The Year in 2006.
Eric Kostenbauder started improvising in his hometown of Seattle a lifetime ago and continues to perform around the Bay Area.
Gemma has been performing as an actress, improvisor, recording artist, musician, professional jazz and cabaret singer and musical peace activist for over 30 years. She put down roots in the Bay Area in 2012 after traveling around the globe for 10 years building a Million Voice Choir for peace and providing clean water and sanitation to over 280,000 people in Asia and Africa. You can see her performing and teaching all around the Bay Area in improvised shows, your favorite musicals, original plays, jazz concerts and even in jails, rehab centers and juvenile detention halls. She founded 2 multi-award winning international non-profit organizations and has 3 TEDx talks. Find out what Gemma's up to at gemmabulos.com
Gina Stahl-Ricco is a super-stoked member of the Un-Scripted Theater Company ensemble. A Bay Area native, Gina has performed with many different improv companies. She is a founding member of Sketch Marks, and the comedy duo We’re Redheads. When not on stage Gina has a pretty eclectic life. She is a professor of Communication at the University of San Francisco, a doula, a would-be carpenter, a crunchy mama to gorgeous Georgia and Dash, and owner of The Roadside Stand, a pretty darn cool localtastic gourmet food business. Get in on some granola at www.TheRoadsideStand.com.
A San Francisco native, Jacob has been improvising as a performer and a musician since high school. He is returning to the Bay Area after a 2-year stint in Boston, where he was a musical director and instructor at ImprovBoston. In addition, he served as Musical Director for the Boston Unscripted Musical Project (BUMP) and has played for many Un-Scripted shows here in San Francisco. Jacob has trained with the UCB Theater in both NY and LA, at ImprovBoston, and was a founding member of the long-running Orange County–based troupe Improv Shmimprov.
Greg lives in Portland where he continues to perform. He is a member of the mains stage company at Curious Comedy and a core ensemble member at the Funhouse.
Jared Abbott is an Outer Sunset dweller. He improvised on and off in high school and at UC San Diego, but is extremely excited to have gotten back into the improv scene through the Un-Scripted Theater Company. Jared performs with the Un-Scripted DASH cast on Saturday nights and he enjoys messy meals and aimless adventures in his free time. Jared is a Special Education teacher in San Mateo and improv has really acted as the yin to his teaching yang.
Joey has studied at BATS Improv and ACT, and has performed with Lombard Street Experiment (7-time winner of the BATS Cave Match), the San Francisco Improv Collective, and the Un-Scripted Theater Company. He believes the fundamentals of improv can help people open up and thrive off stage. Joey is the Deputy Chief of Staff of Change.org. He enjoys making up silly songs together with his wife Lucy and little boys Jackson and Parker.
Jay Ridler is a historian, writer and improviser. He joined Pan Theater in 2013 as a member of Liquid Mind, and teaches their drop in classes and sketch writing/performing workshop. He directed his first show, Wrestlepalooza, in 2016, and, along with Sid Starr, is a member of The Ambassadors improv duo. He’s stoked about bringing history and improv together with the gang at Un-Scripted Theater Company for Secret Lives! A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, Jay lives in the East Bay.
Kate Wing has been making things up since her college days with the Smith Improvisational Comedy Organization of Smith. She's a regular guest at Un-Scripted Theater Company and SpeechlessLive and musical improv is her absolute favoritest. One time a guy called her and sang and played keyboard for Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You," which wins boldest mixtape.
Larissa Kasian has been improvising for almost a decade, having taken classes at BATS, Upright Citizens Brigade and Second City in Los Angeles, and Keith Johnstone in Calgary. She has performed with BATS Improv, An Improv Team Named Desire, Pure Moxie Players, The San Francisco Improv Collective, and Out of Line. She has also appeared in a variety of independent films and voiceover work. This is her fourth show with the Un-Scripted Theater Company.
Laura is enjoying her third outing as a guest with Un-Scripted Theater Company, having played in last year’s And It All Went To Hell… and Fog City Noir. She was recently seen at Femprovisor Fest as her alter ego, Lula — half of the improv singing duo Lula & Juicy's Farewell Tour, and occasionally delights in tackling the delicious improv challenge that is DoubleFeature™ with Rafe Chase. When not on stage she keeps busy organizing people’s houses.
Sarah JK Shoemaker is currently an ensemble member at Un-Scripted Theater Company. She teaches at Leela Theatre where she also performs with their Armando Company. She is a founding member of the all-female ensemble Peach Pit and guests with Kari and Company. In 2015, Sarah guested with The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Improv for a cave match at BATS. Her duo troupe, Tall Grande Venti, has been touring the improv festival circuit.
Mandy Khoshnevisan is an improvisor, actor, teacher, singer, and all-around Working Artist. She directs productions and teaches acting, music, and dance in schools and throughout the Bay Area. Further, she has composed and performed original music for shows including "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Mother Courage." She is also a puppeteer, a graphic designer, and Master Electrician for the SF Playhouse; she designed lights for the SFPH production of "The Sunset Limited." In her fifteen-year improv career, she's been a performing member of Spontaneous Generation (SponGe), the Stanford Improvisors, Scenic Root Longform, and BATS Improv—and The Un-Scripted Theater Company.
Simon has been improvising for over 15 years. He has been trained by UCB and The Groundlings and spent two winters performing scripted and unscripted comedy for The Second City onboard Norwegian Cruise Lines. Simon is originally from Toronto, and his live and radio sketch comedy work there got him two Canadian Comedy Award nominations. He has been in SF for a few months and thinks you are all so nice!
Stacy is awesome.
Trish Tillman is the Director of Artistic Learning at California Shakespeare Theater, as well as being an actor and theater arts teacher in the Bay Area. As an improvisor, she has worked with Bay Area Theatersports here and Paul Sills in New York City, has founded two improvisational theater troupes and is very proud to be an Un-Scripted ensemble member. She’s been seen in lots of scripted work as well, including the upcoming The Importance of Being Earnest at The Town Hall Theater in Lafayette.
Wendy grew up in Connecticut and has been performing since her debut community theater role at the age of 8 as a frog in a well where she literally had to sit most of the play inside a tight container emerging only to ask for kisses. Other theater stints include found-object puppetry for Lunatique Fantastique and writing/performing sketch comedy for the Farce Side Comedy Hour at Arizona State University. She's thrilled to be pursuing her current passion, improv, and performing at the Un-Scripted Theater Company where she's sat in the audience and watched for many years (emerging only to ask for kisses).
Charlotte Moir is a recent graduate of Hillsdale High School, performing with her high school's improv team, The H.I.T. Squad, for all 4 years. She's now studying Journalism at University of San Francisco and is very proud to be performing with Un-Scripted Theater Company for her first professional improv show.
Mariah Howard's been improvising as long as she can remember, using her imagination and dress-up collection to become French novelists and door-to-door computer salesmen. When she’s not running after her darling son, or attending graduate school for Expressive Arts Therapy, she’s thinking about improv. Mariah's been a part of Bay Area improv since 2005 and has been a troupe member of Drunken Monkey Improv, Tilted Frame, True Medusa and Leela’s The Armando Company. In 2014 she had one of the best ideas of her lifetime: she invited two extremely talented and totally adorable women, Claire Slattery and Fontana Butterfield, to form an improv trio which they called, The Right Now. The Right Now performs their unique short form improv throughout the Bay Area and in national improv festivals. Mariah is elated to join the cast of The Short and the Long of It for her first time performing with the Un-Scripted Theater Company!
Rebecca Poretsky has been improvising for over 15+ years (!) She regularly and often performs with the main stage company at BATS Improv, and has also improvised in the Bay Area with Speechless, Awkward Dinner Party, and Couples Therapy Improv, amongst others. You can see her on small and tiny screens in Catlandia and Flummox and Friends. She's excited to play with the fine Un-Scripted folks in this show! Learn more about her at http://rebeccaporetsky.com/ or wherever your magical googling skills take you.
Susan Quintanar is thrilled to be a guest with the Un-Scripted Theater Company. Her improv journey began in 2006 when she started training/performing at BATS Improv. Since then, she has performed with many Bay Area groups, including most recently, On The Rocks. She also is an occasional corporate improv coach and enjoys helping people find their spontaneous expression again. When not improvising, you might catch her in commercials or industrials for local companies, mostly playing “good/bad” corporate managers. If you are a fan of Japanese television, you might also see her on episodes of The World’s Astonishing News!
Sam Miceli is a video game art director by day, and an improvisor by night. She has a degree in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design, where she focused on visual storytelling. She took her first improv class in 2014, fell in love with long-form improv, and is a graduate of BATS Improv.
Susan Snyder is in her second decade of improvising. She is proud to be a co-founder and continuing ensemble member of the Un-Scripted Theater Company. Susan holds a MA in Psychology/Drama Therapy and specializes in teaching both the joys and practical applications of improv in trainings, workshops and classes. In addition to performing, Susan manages Un-Scripted's Corporate Programs. Susan blogs about improv and parenting at www.improvamama.com.
Chris Shurland is a Bay Area improviser by way of Chicago, where he studied improv with Second City, iO (formerly Improv Olympic), Annoyance Theater, and One Group Mind. Chris is a member of American Improv Theatre in San Jose, where he performs, directs, and teaches. He is also one half of the Chicago-based improv duo Legends of Public Access, which performs and teaches at festivals and theaters around the country. By day, he can be found toiling around being a lawyer. Chris is very excited to be making his Un-Scripted debut with Murder, Most Un-Scripted!!!
Jessia Hoffman is a Bay Area-based performer, educator, and freelance writer. With over a decade of improv experience, Jessia has directed the Stanford Improvisors, coached the Aragon Improv Team, studied on both coasts, and currently teaches for BATS Improv. Select theatre credits: writer/director of Sheila, an original play; co-creator of Gravity: A New(tonian) Musical; guest improviser in Un-Scripted’s Foglandia; Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray; Dot/Marie in Sunday in the Park with George. Jessia holds a B.A. from Stanford University in English with a focus in Creative Writing, a minor in Spanish, and Interdisciplinary Honors in the Arts. She is thrilled to return to Un-Scripted for Super Scene, one of her very favorite formats!
Ana is an improviser based in San Francisco, CA, playing on stage and in the tech booth. She has created and directed On the Rocks, a fully improvised, semi-costumed stage play set at a 1950s cocktail party, and Grendel's Grinches, an improvised epic inspired by oral traditional literature. Other performance credits include Attack of the Scenes, Split Decision, RagTag Improv, guest performances with Phasers on Stun and The Iron Stage, and numerous student shows at BATS Improv. Her website is seeanaplay.com.
Tim has improvised since 1988 with many San Francisco-based groups, including BATS Improv, True Fiction Magazine, Awkward Dinner Party, and with the acclaimed troupe 3 For All. In 2009, he founded Improv Playhouse of San Francisco. Since 2015, he has toured Europe with Inbal Lori from Berlin performing their duo show Click.
Tim has also appeared in numerous plays in the San Francisco Bay Area, and received critical acclaim for his leading roles in the improvised feature films, Suckerfish and Security. With Stephen Kearin, Tim co-wrote, and originated the role of Dirk Manly in, An Evening with Dirk & Blaine.
Tim has performed and taught improvisation at the American Conservatory Theatre, BATS Improv, Stanford University, and many other venues nationally (Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Austin, Louisville, Atlanta, etc.) and internationally (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beirut, Belgium, Berlin, Bucharest, Dubai, Hamburg, Helsinki, Lisbon, London, Mallorca, Oslo, Paris, Saudi Arabia, Stockholm, and more.)
A recovering hustler (i.e. workaholic), Jared Polivka rediscovered his childhood love for story in Rebecca Stockley’s improv class. Shedding his former “hustler” identity, Jared intends to be light hearted, present, empathetic, kind and responsible while making good art and serving others. Jared is a graduate of BATS Improv. He currently trains improv with Tim Orr, trains voice with Dan Seda and trains acting at the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) and with Stan Roth. Stay in touch with Jared on Instagram and Medium.
Brittany has been performing improv for over ten years, training in both long and short form improv. She has performed with troupes in Ohio, Colorado, and now California! When she is not practicing improv she is a scientist in the Bay Area.
Anton Shuster has been performing since 5th grade when his parents bought a cassette-tape karaoke machine. He produces and performs weekly in #ThrowbackThursday at Endgames Improv. Although he spends most of his time at Endgames, he started improv with the curriculum at Leela, and is excited for his first Un-Scripted Theater Company show. Anton loves to learn new skills and is currently working on ASL, vocal techniques, and freestyle rapping.
On advice from his acting coach, Shawn Brick took his first improv class in 2008 and has never looked back. Since then, he has performed with a number of Bay Area troupes, including Phasers on Stun, The Iron Stage, Flash Mob Musical, and RagTag Improv. Shawn loves short-form, long-form, and narrative improv, as long as he gets to do things he wouldn't in real life. This is Shawn's first Un-Scripted show. (www.shawnbrick.com)
Bela Evans trained at BATS Improv in the mid-1990s, and subsequently performed in groups at BATS (San Francisco), Made Up Theatre (Fremont), and Pear Theatre (Mountain View). Most recently, he played with locals troupes Charmers Market, All That Jazz, and The Internet: Live. At Un-Scripted Theater Company, Bela was a cast member of the 2018 Intimacy Issues and Super Scene shows, and he is super excited to be a part of Oregon Trials!
Mariah Thompson comes to the San Francisco improv world from Toronto, Canada, where she studied and performed at the Second City Conservatory and Bad Dog Theatre. She is thrilled to be making her debut with the Un-Scripted Theater Company in Love at First Sight. During the week Mariah works in Animation Film Production juggling project coordination and voicing temporary audio for whatever wacky character her co-workers think up next.
Lauren Kelly's love of improvisation began eight years ago, when she joined the Stanford Improvisers. After college, she moved up to San Francisco and became a professional voice actor, and gets to use improv regularly to bring copy to life! She's thrilled to be performing with Un-Scripted in Intimacy Issues this summer. When she's not behind the mic or onstage, Lauren is probably taking a road trip or baking a pie.
Evan has been performing long-form improv and sketch comedy for more than ten years, and has received training in Chicago, New York, Seattle, and San Francisco. He has performed at theaters in New York, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco, and is a founding member of Seattle long-form group, Mr. Snake. This is Evan’s second show at Un-Scripted, and he is thrilled to be here. When he is not performing, Evan is a law student at UC Berkeley.
Dave Collins is an award-winning improvisor, coach, and corporate strategist with over a decade of experience performing and coaching improv. Along with his teammates, Dave won the National Collegiate Improv Tournament, headlined shows at the Chicago, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Dallas improv festivals, and individually has coached hundreds of students and professionals. He is the founder of Oak and Reeds, a training consultancy that teaches students and professionals how to use the tools of improv in their everyday work and life. In his spare time he likes to play board games with friends, deliver moving political speeches to himself and cook breakfast sandwiches at night.
Christina Marie has been improvising for over 12 years in San Francisco and Los Angeles. She studied in San Francisco with Bay Area Theatre Sports, Sue Walden and Company, and Endgames Improv. In Los Angeles she studied with the Groundlings and The Second City. She has performed with several groups in San Francisco including the Riffingtons (Cobbs comedy club house improv group), Liquid soap, and Nightcap theater. In Los Angeles she has performed at The Improv in Hollywood, The Icehouse in Pasadena, and the Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard. She is psyched to be working with Un-Scripted!
Ali Balfantz started her formal improv training in 2014 and she is a graduate of BATS Improv. Her informal self-taught improv training started in South Louisiana in the early 80's as an only child with a wild imagination. She has taken countless classes, performed in many shows, and loved every minute of it! Ali previously performed in SuperScene with Un-Scripted Theater Company, and she has guested with RagTag Improv and Moment Improv. She is the co-founder/co-producer of On Tap Improv in San Francisco. Ali is thrilled to be back at Un-Scripted and performing in Oregon Trials! She has fond memories of dying of dysentery in her elementary school computer lab.
Ivan has been involved in stage theatre for more than ten years and has done improvised comedy for the past seven years. He first learned the style at Ohlone College, under the tutelage of Jeff Kramer, founder of Comedysportz. Before joining the Super Scene cast at Un-Scripted, Ivan was a main stage performer at Comedysportz, and was a part of their San Jose team. During his tenure there, he performed at their world championships, facing off with 22 other improvised teams from around the globe.
Will Funk began his improv journey as a member of the Stanford Improvisors. Since then, he's enjoyed coaching a ragtag gaggle of high schoolers on the San Mateo Improv Team at SMHS. On his other foot, Will is an analyst at a foundation and works with a variety of camps. Will is thrilled for his first performance with Un-Scripted Theater Company!
Rebecca Castelli is delighted to be making her debut with Unscripted Theater Company. She is a member of The Incidentalists, a long-form improvisational group that performs regularly in Oakland, and Operavised!, an improvisational group that performs fully sung improvised musicals. As an actress, Rebecca has worked with local companies including Shotgun Players, Porchlight Theatre Company, and Those Women Productions. She has also worked with regional theatres including Fifth Avenue Musical Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, and Clarence Brown Theatre Company. Rebecca is a voice teacher and dialect coach. For more info: rebeccacastelli.com
Bonnie Kate Wolf is a Bay Area native who recently moved home from London. She's been doing improv since middle school, and likes to think she's improved. At Un-Scripted Theater Company, she guested in Let It Snow 2018, In Case You Missed It, and Oregon Trials. For the 2019 season, she'll be guesting in Mixtape, World Premiere, and Remote Control Freak. She performed with Un-Scripted at the West Coast Musical Improv Festival 2019. You might say she enjoys singing. She performs regularly with Well Endowed, a local improv troupe, and trained at BATS Improv. Professionally, Bonnie Kate is a brand designer at OpenTable. For fun, she knits sweaters, sings a cappella, and plays with her puppy. She plays ukulele because guitars are too big for her hands.
Charlie has been improvising and creating in both music and dance for basically her whole life, yet it has taken years of considerable encouragement from her husband to finally start improvising with words. Now that it’s happened, she loves it! She performs with the improv troupe Well Endowed. This is her fourth show with Un-Scripted Theater Company and she is so excited to be part of this awesome cast.
When she is not playing make believe you can find her creating dance films, spoiling their pets and napping.
This is Erica’s second show with Un-Scripted and she is thrilled to be a part of such a lovely ensemble. Erica trained at BATS and keeps her improv chops up to speed with the help of coach, aka, Tim Orr. Erica enjoys teaching donation-based improv with friend and duo-improv partner, Jared Polivka. When Erica isn’t therapizing or training for a marathon; she enjoys hardcore lounging, snacking, and snowboarding.
Melanie Flores Salman is an improviser both on stage and in life. Six years ago she co-founded Phasers on Stun and has been exploring the world of Star Trek ever since. She’s also performed other forms of Improvised Theater including Demimonde, a format that explores the 1890’s Paris underworld. She has also guested with San Francisco Improv Collective, RagTag and is thrilled to perform with Un-Scripted.
Derek took his first improv class in the fall of 2007 and has been at it ever since--improv, that is, not the class. During this time he’s had the pleasure of performing with BATS Improv, Big City Improv, Secret Improv Society, the Streetlight People, Spontaneous Combustion, and other Bay Area groups. He also created The Five Deadly Improvisers, who performed improvised kung fu movies in festivals around the nation.
Alyssa Lupo-Zulueta happily makes her Un-Scripted debut. Past productions include roles at the La Jolla Playhouse, Geffen Theatre, Long Beach Opera, Pear Theatre, Deaf West, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. among others. She's been a member of Shakespeare & Company for over 20 years (as a performer and teacher), and holds an MFA from UCSD, as well as a BFA from NYU. Her husband, Ogie, is a fellow actor. Together they have 2 amazing kids and a sweet, bed-hogging, dog.
Joel Bloom cares passionately about three things: TV/Film production, being a dad and improv. He began his improv journey at the Comedy Spot in Sacramento. Once in the Bay Area, Joel took pretty much every foundation, studio and performance class at BATS. His first performance experience was competing in a Cage Match with his team, “The Charlies.” Joel is now delighted to be a part of the Adventure Quest team and perform on the Un-Scripted stage!
Rebecca Poretsky is a company member with BATS Improv since 2012 and, since 2004, has improvised all around the Bay with numerous groups, including: Speechless, Awkward Dinner Party, the Un-Scripted Theater Company, Couples Therapy Improv, and Big City Improv. Rebecca has performed live and video sketch comedy (Crisis Hopkins and the Kasper Hauser Comedy Group) and original solo performance (I Left My Heart in Brooklyn – The Marsh). She starred as Señorita Panochista in Spring Break: The Musical, an original production, written and produced by the Mortified team. Rebecca's studied improv at the Annoyance Theater in Chicago, acting at the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre and Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass, and physical theater/clown at the Flying Actor Studio and with master clown teacher Giovanni Fusetti. She's been in a bizarre number of comedic cat videos and is not AT ALL embarrassed by that.
Rebecca teaches improv classes and facilitates workshops all over the place, acts in and writes various other projects, and practices and teaches yoga. She lives in a blended family with her sweetheart and their cat and dog step-pets in San Francisco and is working on being better at self-promotion.
Ben Woehler is thrilled to make his Un-Scripted Theater Company debut with such a talented ensemble. New to San Francisco, Ben is a former company member of Blacktop Comedy in Sacramento and The Michael Becker Experience in Santa Cruz.
Ben has performed at theaters all over Northern California. Recent stage credits include 1984, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). He hopes you enjoy the show!
Jenny Donohue is sassy, saucy, somatic play & communication connoisseur. A Meisner Technique conservatory grad & holder of some standard Bay Area relationship coach titles, she has been teaching healing improv classes for over 13 years. She fuses her passion for deeper connection and intimacy with the art and fun of theater games.
Rebecca hails from Seattle, Washington, where she trained as a professional actor, played lots of parts at lots of theatres and eventually chanced upon Seattle TheatreSports where everything changed. It was 1984 and Rebecca, the actor, took an improv workshop. The next day, Rebecca was an improviser. Within weeks, she joined Seattle TheatreSports' board of directors, and for four years she taught and performed improv in and around the Pacific Northwest. The workshop she taught in San Francisco in the fall of 1987 led to the birth of BATS Improv. In 1989, Rebecca moved south to join the BATS fun. As an advocate for improvisation and pioneer in the growing field of Applied Improvisation, Rebecca has taught and performed improv all over the world. She has been invested in the development of long and short form improv here and abroad. Improv introduced Rebecca to her husband, all her best friends, and to the world. improvlady.com
Claire Slattery is thrilled to be performing with The Trifecta! She is a seasoned performer and expert coach/facilitator who travels the world delivering Improv Thinking trainings to groups and coaching to top executives. She is particularly passionate about training women and non-binary leaders to free their voice, tell their story, and transform their impact. Claire has trained, performed, and produced her own original work at top theaters and comedy centers including Upright Citizens Brigade, iO West, The Groundlings, American Conservatory Theater, and BATS Improv. She is a proud graduate of Stanford University and resident of Oakland, CA.
Joe Balfantz is a Bay Area improviser focusing on strong storytelling and fun characters, throwing in a dash of singing along the way! Joe was trained at BATS, starting in 2014, and has been making things up ever since! Joe is currently a member of All That Jazz and the director and co-producer of On Tap, in addition to guesting with RagTag Improv.
Natalie Ernst is thrilled to be part a part of Mixtape! She is currently an improv instructor and performer with Leela in San Francisco. She has a background in musical theater and is excited to continue combining her love for improv with her love for musical. She currently has the pleasure of performing in a duo called “Musical Story time with Natalie and Sid,” which is a musical Armando-type format, often featuring puppets. She is also in a group called “Giraffe Town” that performs the Deconstruction format, created by Miles Stroth, as well other groups known as “The Leftovers,” and "Leela’s Armando Company.” Natalie has her own small face painting company, “Paint a Face Designs,” where she has the opportunity to express her creativity through face painting, and body art. Natalie is very grateful for all of the amazing people she has met through this incredible art form.
Eric is super excited to rock out for the first time at Un-Scripted Theater Company in Mixtape. He can be seen regularly with Flash Mob Musical, SF's longest running musical montage group, creating scenes and songs with some of his favorite people! Eric has studied acting at ACT and improv with BATS, Endgames, Jim Cranna, Pan Theatre and too many workshops to count. He lives in SF with his wife, Stephanie, and enjoys board games, sci-fi and being weird.
Christine Kwong started performing improv in 2011, but considers her entire life an improvised performance. She has trained and performed at the National Comedy Theatre (San Diego), BATS, Leela, and is thrilled to be part of the Un-Scripted Theater Company’s Mixtape.
When not engaged in her improv comedy career, she enjoys daydreaming about opening for Ali Wong, picking colors for a living (as a marketer), and looking for love in all the oblong places.
Patricia Pearson is an alumna of BATS and as if regular old improv were not wonderful enough, the day Patricia discovered improv singing fifteen years ago she could not believe the joy! From then on any time an opportunity to improvise songs comes her way, she takes it, and is thrilled to be doing music improv with the Un-Scripted Theater Company in the new Mixtape show.
Zoab Kapoor has been making people laugh for almost as long as he’s been talking — sometimes even intentionally! After beginning his comedy career in standup, Zoab realized that the “telling jokes” part is much more fun than the “preparing to tell jokes” part, and pivoted to improvisation. He has been improvising since 2013, performing in Los Angeles, Budapest, and San Francisco.
This is his first show with Un-Scripted Theater Company, but he thinks it will be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Brian Ogata performed off-off Broadway at the Theatre for the New City, New York, NY. He has performed in several improv troupes including Blue Blanket Improv, the Peninsulators, and the Jesters of Yes. He studied with notable instructors including Joe Bill, Zoe Galvez, Susan Messing, Mick Napier, David Razowski, and Todd Stashwick. He received his MA, Theatre Arts and MA, Speech Communications. Currently, he is the Lynbrook High School Head Coach of Speech & Debate.
Brian began his musical improv journey in 2019. That March, he joined Major Sixth, Leela Theatre’s musical improv performing ensemble. He performed in the Leela-sponsored 2019 Femprovisor Festival and the 2019 Un-Scripted Theater Company-sponsored West Coast Musical Improv Festival. And, now, he performs in the Mixtape ensemble.
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Brian thanks Christopher Eickmann, Steven Burnett, and Dana Cory for starting him on his journey.