BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Ryan Asher
Today's subject Ryan Asher is currently living her theatre life onstage at Kennedy Center's Theater Lab as one of the company members for The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand. The production runs through August 13th.
Ryan is originally from Charlottesville, Virginia and started performing at the ripe old age of four. Read on to find out her big debut.
She received her B.F.A. in theater performance from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and then moved to Chicago. She took many, many improv classes and became a company member of The Second City in 2015.
Other Chicago area credits include playing with Mick Napier's Trigger Happy and iO's Late 90's.
Coming from a theatre background works in Ryan's favor because improve and theatre really go together. Even if you are in a set piece of theatre, you have to be ready to cover for any mishap that might happen.
The fact that Ryan is working with a company like The Second City just proves that all of her training paid off. It has been one of the most famous companies in the country since 1959. It has turned out some of our biggest comics including Stephen Colbert, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and Tina Fey to name a few.
If you want to see one of the best improv groups in action this summer, consider taking a trip to the Kennedy Center to see Ryan Asher and company in The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand It promises to be a topical and hilarious experience and our local heroine Ryan Asher is part of it. She is truly living her theatre (and improv) life to the fullest.
Growing up in Charlottesville Virginia, were you a class clown, or like many comic performers, more of an introvert?
I was an introvert once I got to high school but in community theatre I was more of a class clown. My Dad became the vice principal of my high school when I was in 10th grade so that was reason enough for me to become an introvert.
How did you get into performing?
I was in the play called Alphabet Soup when I was four. I played the letter T. I remember marching up to the director and saying, "I want to be letter R because my name starts with it." My parents encouraged performing as well. I went to VCU and have been doing it ever since.
Had you been performing with another comedy troupe before joining The Second City?
Yes, in Chicago there are many comedy troupes. I have worked with The Annoyance Theatre, which is my fav group besides The Second City. You take many improv classes in Chicago and I learned as much as I could in those classes. The Second City called and the rest of history.
How do you best describe The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand?
It was honestly hard to sit in a room and decide what's funny now about politics. I don't remember this much division between people. We didn't want to focus on Trump. He gets enough publicity. The show is about abortion rights and other social issues and the people they affect, and, of course, race in America.
With any political show, I imagine the material is constantly changing depending on what our elected idiots pull on any particular day. Is this the case with The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand?
We do an improv space in the show because most of the stuff in the show doesn't change. We use the improv slot to put in the daily madness, but most of the show is set with material about the issues I already mentioned.
The Second City has such a rich history. Was this one of the reasons you wanted to go to work for them?
OH, FOR SURE!!! All of my idols that I looked up to worked and trained there. When I moved to Chicago I was a theatre person not an improviser. I never thought I'd get the job. Walking into their building is very inspiring, and to think I could be standing next to the next Colbert or Tina Fey is very cool.
When not working with The Second City, where else do you perform?
The Annoyance Theatre and iO in Chicago. I'm also working on several projects with my writing partner Katie Kershaw who is in the show as well.
Special thanks to the Kennedy Center's PR Coordinator of Non- Classical Lauren Holland for her assistance in coordinating this interview.
Theatre Life logo designed by Kevin Laughon.