Spotlight On: Brendon Bennetts

Brendon Bennetts and the cast of In Bed, NZIF 2016.JPG

Brendon Bennetts (Christchurch) has been teaching and directing improv for the Court Jesters since 2002. He hosts comedy quiz podcast THE NERD DEGREE, teaches high school English, and in his spare time writes plays. Brendon is proud to have performed at NZIF every year since it started.

Tell us a bit about your show and the idea behind it, and why/how it excites you.
The Improv Show at the End of the World was inspired by a workshop I did at last year's NZIF. I'm inspired by shows like Black Mirror, where the audience is taken to a world that is both familiar and strange. I think this challenge is going to push the improvisors to their limits, they'll have to be focused on picking up every little detail the other improvisers come up with.

What show other than your own are you most excited to see? Why?
I can't wait to see Don't See This Show Alone. Improvised horror is rare, but there's something about the uncertainty of improv (no one knows how it will end!) that can ramp up the tension of a scene. I'm also a contrarian, so I have booked in to see it alone.

What's the best thing about improv?
If I improvise a story with you, we'll end up with a story that I wouldn't have come up with on my own, and you wouldn't have come up with on your own. It's a unique product of our relationship at that moment. There's something magical about that.

What's going to be the NEXT BIG THING in improv?
Sad to say, but soon all human improvisors will be replaced with robots. As soon as they combine a chatbot, an asimo, and a pun database, we will be obsolete.

Any Improv/Theatre/Comedy heroes?
My improv hero is professional wrestler Sami Zayn. He does everything a great improvisor should: he listens and reacts, he makes his partner look good, plus he does a mean suicide dive into tornado DDT.

Brendon directs The Improv Show at the End of the World at BATS Theatre, 9:30pm Friday 20 October. Our full programme runs 17-21 October, and tickets are on sale now!