Steph Perez performs Improv at The iO Theater in Chicago.
Steph Pérez is a proud Cuban-American born and raised in Miami, FL. She is a performer on Comet and is currently working on her solo show “Sad Chonga” set to go up at iO in Fall 2019.
How many times have you performed in 'Harold'? What do you like about it's premise?
I perform the Harold weekly with my team Comet. Its iO’s signature style. I really love how through improvisation we are able to connect the worlds from all our characters. It’s a process that really commands focus and listening from everyone involved. It feels great to come together as a team to create art.
Can you tell if something has thoroughly run it's course and it's been wrung dry to the last drop?
Absolutely, usually the audience will let you know it too! Ha! You can totally feel the energy zip around and you can feel when its time to let something die.
When you are teaching improv classes, what do you find people struggle with most at the beginning? I imagine 'letting go' or being self-conscious is one of them?
Letting go is definitely a big one but under the surface of that is actually people struggling with being vulnerable and trusting themselves. I always remind folks that there is no reason to be afraid because we’re all making it up in the spot. A room full of improvisers is the safest and most supportive place to be.
There must be people who are naturals at improvisation, but have you seen people come through that are uptight, nervous or very shy then ended up really taking to improv?
Absolutely, but I think that if they went through the trouble of signing up something in them must want to let go. I try to be as supportive as can be and remind them they have the power to choose to let go and relax. It’s the best kind of activity to let go because it I such a supportive art form. #supportivefriends
Can you give an example of an exercise in class that's designed to get people to relax and feel more open to ideas?
One of the silliest and easiest ways to get people to not take themselves so seriously and relax is to play “Kitty Cat Career”. Its basically charades but you have to pretend to be a cat. Its just a great way to see someone play a school teacher and let go while they’re licking their fake paws and trying to get the rest of the adults to guess what Kitty Cat Career they are pretending to be.
Are you working on a new concept or show?
I am! I am currently working on a solo show “Sad Chonga” that deals with the subject of Depression. The tag line is Depression, BUT FUNNY!
I want to make it easier and less taboo to talk about mental health. I’ve teamed up with Howard Brown Health to provide my audience members with goodies/swag with Information to their mental health services on their way out from the show. Its important to me that we talk about mental health and it cant hurt to have a laugh along the way.
I understand that you dabble in technology as well, what are a couple apps that you like? Which carrier are you with and what phone do you use? Did you remember why you went with them?
I really love my Spotify & group me app. I have a few improv teams on group me and its such an easy way to communicate back and forth with other folks.
I have Sprint as my carrier and I’m currently using the iPhone Max. I believe I was intrigued that unlike some carriers they had plans with unlimited data and minutes. I am constantly on the go and need to have a peace of mind when using my data around the city.
Ok, you're going on vacation to the Dominican Republic, aka "The DR." Can you share a playlist of yours that you might listen to down there or what are a few songs you like now?
I’ll definitely be listening to the “!Viva Latino!” playlist on Spotify. Its basically like a top 50 for Latin Artists. I’ll listen to any Bad Bunny song! Bad Bunny is a latin Trap artist and I cant think of any of his songs that I don’t like.