Ensemble Interview: Martha Kemper

We're serving up another ensemble interview, this time with a new member, Martha Kemper!



 As one of our newest members of Bright Invention, what have these first rehearsals been like for you? 


Hi, and thanks for asking!  Although I have been acting professionally for over 30 years, and I have used improvisation as a rehearsal tool in traditional plays,  and in particular forms of theatre, like Theatre of the Oppressed, being part of an Improv troupe is a totally different experience!   We have to be totally tuned in, in the moment, ready to invent, respond and play. One scene follows right after another, new situations, new characters, new relationships. I've just dived in to these first few rehearsals. I'm really loving it. 


What do you find most exciting about the kind of work Bright Invention does?


 I love just how fast and furious it is, how fully immersed we must be, with  imagination, body, mind, spirit and emotions. We have to be at the ready to engage with and respond to each other! And maybe that is what is most exciting: playing with  these inventive actors, who are either starting some quirky or tragic or funny or otherwise human scene that one of us can jump into, or knowing that if I start something, someone will step in and their creativity and responsiveness with be just what the scene needs.  


You were a part of one of White Pines’ fall shows last season, Luckiest Kid, as were a few of our founding ensemble members. What’s it been like improvising with your former cast mates?


Part of what made me want to audition for Bright Invention was how much I loved working with Ben and the ensemble he assembled around Music You Remember and Luckiest Kid. Those familiar friends (Ben, Eva and Jerry)  have welcomed me with open arms and that has made such a difference! And although Jenn wasn't involved directly in those productions, I had met her,  and wanted to take her improv class. I did, and loved the way she led the class. I was eager to audition for BI, and  am delighted to be in the troupe!


 Our newest form, Your Mix Tape, uses audience suggested music to inspire improv. In rehearsing it, we’ve learned that music has a special way of taking a person back to a specific time in their life. Is there a specific song that does that for you?


The song that comes to me  in answer to your question doesn't take me back in the past, but it brings to the surface something that is happening now.  The song is "Fix You" by Cold Play. I have heard it sung by a man who is part of a choir of elders from a retirement community.  He was supposed to sing it as a duet but the friend he would have sung it with dies before they get to perform the song.  I have a loved one who is very sick.  The song just takes me there.  


Interview by Randi Hickey (Bright Invention Intern)