Interview with Kristen Norine, Bright Invention ensemble member

Continuing with our interview series, get ready to meet the magical artists that make up Bright Invention. First up is Miss Kristen Norine!

Has improv always been on your radar or is this a completely new adventure for you? If so is it anything like you imagined it would be? 

Improv was this torture device when I was in middle school and high school simply because the focus was on being funny. Now, I think I’m a pretty amusing person but under the pressure of being funny very quickly I would crumble. So, I actively avoided participating in anything under the name ‘improv’ for a long time. I’ve seen lots of ComedySportz shows (love them!) and a handful of Tongue and Groove shows (love them too!) and it’s really the latter that started to show me that Improv is a much more diverse art form than what I first encountered when I was younger. Long form improv surprises me every time I’m working in rehearsal; I find myself constantly surprised at the work that myself and others create. Working with everyone in this company feels like true theater magic…where everything always comes together and you wonder why you were ever worried. It’s an amazing feeling to walk into a scene with a partner with NO idea what’s going to happen next and to create something together.

Within the work we are creating, what do you think our audience will take away from it?

I think the work we’re making in Bright Invention runs the gamut of human relationships. We create scenes that are huge, life altering moments, like the kind you often see in theater or movies. Jenn calls it the 10th day kind of drama where once the moment happens there’s no going back to how things were before. I know as an audience member I live to see those kinds of moments because so rarely do we have the courage in our own lives to knowingly push a relationship to the edge. But, we also create scenes that are quiet and gentle in a way. Scenes where people are trying desperately to connect to one another, to create something together, and doing so with all the fear and trepidation that we carry with us. Those are some of the best scenes, in my opinion. It connects the audience to us in a way because we show them scenes that are familiar to them as well, a “me too” moment. I think the audience will walk away with moments the both long to emulate and know all to well.

What is your definition of Bright Invention?
This might be lifted straight out of the dictionary but when I think Bright Invention I think of an illuminating creation. The moments we’re creating are not unthought of and 100% original but that’s not the goal. Our desire is to spontaneously create moments, inspired by the audience, that shine a light on how connected we all are. I’m not particularly interested in creating a scene you can’t relate to…I want to create a moment that you know so well, and when you see it happening on stage you feel less alone…more connected even to those who are strangers to you. 

What are your biggest, most childish dreams for this company? Hell, what’s your biggest dream for your own life?

I would love to see this company become a home base for the creating artist. Not only creating some kickass improv but using the tools learned from improv to help develop new works, give actors more tools to create, a place of learning for young people, working professionals, and those interested in learning a new skill.  You have a new play you need workshopped through some improv work? You contact us. An actor stuck in creating a character? We can help you out. It’s my dream for my day job to be working with a company that strives to enrich the lives of others through theater arts. That sounds like an amazing life to me to create work, to support fellow artists, and to share my knowledge (and love) of theater with those who want to learn.