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If you haven’t guessed by that lovely homage to The Name Game, this month’s Player’s Spotlight is dedicated to Anna Abhau Elliott.
Anna, one of our newer players, is originally from Philadelphia (the Mount Airy section, to be exact). Growing up, she was a fan of ComedySportz Philly, and she started improv while in high school. She was chosen to participate in an avant garde magic show in New York; and throughout high school, she performed improv with This Side Up, a division of the MacGuffin Theatre and Film Company.
Moving forward a decade or so, Anna graduated from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU with a BFA in Drama and a minor in history. Anna says she “didn’t participate in much improv because of her rigorous studies;” however, she and a few friends did create performances of “devised theater.” Specifically, they wrote a play entitled Home/Sick,which was mounted at Wesleyan University in January of this year.
So, how did Anna get involved with ComedySportz NYC? She took a improv workshop at ComedySportz Los Angeles, and the teacher was former CSz NYC player John Woodruff. He suggested she audition for CSz NYC, and the rest is (almost) a year of history.
Watching Anna play, it looks like she’s really enjoying the game. When I asked how her year has been, she replied, “Fun. I still get really nervous before shows and it is scary sometimes to play games that I’ve never played before, but everyone is very supportive.” Two games that she really enjoys are New Choice and ThreeThingz. She describes New Choice as “fun and weird.” When commenting on Three Things, she says, “If you get it right, it’s thrilling. If you get it very wrong, it’s still entertaining. It’s so surreal.”
When reflecting on comedy, Anna says, “Just making the simplest choice is really funny.” In comparing stand-up to improv, “the best joke (in writing) doesn’t always make the audience laugh. It’s weird what makes something a joke. You can aspire to make some beautiful souffle of a joke that comes together but, especially withComedySportz, you don’t have time. Just give the people what they want. You can trust the architecture of the game and not overcomplicate things.”
Anna says that her playing style is “psyched! with obscure/off kilter references…while aspiring to be simple and elegant.” Hearing all of Anna’s interesting points of view, I finally asked her, “If you could tell yourself something a year from now, what would it be?” Her reply: “I’m proud of you.”
And we’re proud of you, too, Anna.
About the Author: Michelle Francesca Thomas is a five-year improv veteran, an Essex County, NJ, native, and a lover of comedy. She has studied improv at the PIT and UCB and can been seen performing with ComedySportzNYC at the Broadway Comedy Club.