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Margaret Edwartowski

How long have you been performing?
Did my first play at age 5, but really started in high school.

What motivated you to start improvising?
We did some improv in high school and college theatre. Ultimately it was friends who'd been cast in the Tour Co. at Second City Detroit who talked me into auditioning there.

How did you get involved at Planet Ant?
I was an extra in Get the Hell Out Of Hamtown when Planet Ant was a coffee house. Eventually a lot of my peers got involved and in 2000, I was a co-founder of the Planet Ant Improv Colony.

What shows have you performed in?
Madness of Kris Kringle, An Evening at the Double Diamond, A Man of No Importance, Bottle of Red: Uncorked. Director for Antthology, Pedro Orsini's Parade of Penniless Players, and Clear and Present Manger.

What are some of your favorite shows you've been in and why?
Uncorked was an amazing whirlwind. Nancy and Shawn and I had just gotten off a cruise ship job and had nothing else going on but writing that show. It was jam packed with characters and was exhausting to do, but one of the most fun times I've ever had writing/performing.
Directing Pedro Orsini was an awesome experience. It merged my theatre background with improv. It was an experiment of "what if you took Commedia D'ell Arte and cast it with improvisers?" I was really proud of that show.
Being in Mike McGettigan's A Man of No Importance was an all around great experience. I hadn't done any straight acting (not improv or sketch) in many years, let alone done something dramatic. Also, the cast happened to be extremely fun and we had a non-stop backstage bit where we were all a group of high school kids. We still will slip into that bit from time to time. What a blast.

A fun, memorable moment from a Monday Night:
Pete's Eye.
Pete Jacokes used to get these random allergic reactions where his eye would swell like he'd just been in a prize fight. You can't hang out with a bunch of improvisers prone to give you shit and expect them not to razz you about your Rocky eye. But we'd behaved for the first portion of the evening. Once the set started, we were playing Switch. I tagged in to play with Pete and did an eye bit. Every face on the back line lit up like "Oh we can do that? Yay!" Then we relentlessly did eye bits. Later that night someone created a MySpace page called "Pete's Eye." With friends like these...

What do you do outside of the theatre?
Executive Director - Y Arts Detroit. The Arts and Humanities branch of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit.

Who are some of your comedy heroes?
Carol Burnett, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, French and Saunders, Fry and Laurie, Mitchell and Webb, Stephen Merchant (hero and crush).

What's one piece of advice you'd give to someone interested in starting improv?
Shut off your brain and turn on your ears. Feel something rather than thinking something up. Above all, enjoy yourself. Nobody's making their fortune doing this stuff, so it might as well be fun.