Pauline Calmé is a French improviser from Paris. Since 2011 she has performed in almost 150 shows. She is best known for her poetic, musical and clowning approach to improvisation. She has played with most famous Parisian improvisors such as Mark Jane, Les Eux and internationals such as Omar Galvan and Patti Stiles. She’s been performing in a successful long form improv show with her company Smoking Sofa for over four years. To improve her art, she practices masks with Trance Mask France and the physical theatre method of Ira Seidenstein.
Tell us a bit about your show and the idea behind it, and why/how it excites you.
Usually, a show without words is a dance show, a clown show, a mask show or something like that. I realised that you can put what you want in a impro show. So, the constraint of "not speaking" forces us to use other arts. And then the question is: is it possible to tell improvised stories without saying a word and without being boring?
What's the best thing about improv?
Thank to improv, I can travel all over the word, I can meet incredible people and spend time with them, I can laugh everyday and I feel free!
How would you describe your personal improv style?
I used to perform in narrative long forms. I like tell stories to people. I feel confident when I go on stage with nothing because I know we are gonna build the story together with my partners. I love mixing arts, seeing or playing dancing and clowning moments. I like to add poetry and metaphors. But I also enjoy very much fucking the rules when I know we trust each other. I feel free to play what I want. Everything is possible and we don't know what's gonna happen...
Weirdest/best way improv has helped you in daily life?
When I am involved in a conflict, I express my feelings and I breath. It helps a lot... a lot.
What's going on in the improv world where you are?
I feel there are seekers who try to find "what we can do with improv that we have never done before?". People work hard, it is stimulating !
Any Improv/Theatre/Comedy heroes?
A lot of people inspired me, among them: Dario Fo, Franca Rame, Nina Simone, Family Flöz, to quote only four of them.
Pauline directs The Curse of Blahblahland at BATS Theatre, 9:30pm Wednesday 18 October. Our full programme runs 17-21 October, and tickets are on sale now!