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“We have everything in this show” comments Tiana Hogben as we discuss their 2017 Melbourne Fringe Show ‘I’m Here’. Tiana, Caitlyn Staples and Jayden Masciulli speak excitedly about their sketch show that will feature everything from classic sketch pieces, puns, parody and even an original musical number. “It’s not a play” says Tiana, the show is “sketches with a narrative through line…underlining the show”. Caitlin adds “it’s the one thing we keep coming back to that grounds the show”. When discussing the theme of the show, each member notes that it is about life events, that are poignant yet relatable. “We wanted to focus on us now, and who we are, what we experience day-to-day”. “We’re not afraid to dive into the ‘feels’ as they say” Jayden remarks in a jovial fashion. “We pride ourselves on making people laugh and cry”, says Tiana. Caitlin interjects, “but this year we’re shooting for more comedy” to keep the show “high energy and fun”.
The group Hit By a Blimp comprises the three performers Caitlyn, Jayden and Tiana as well as “Broni” who is the director of their upcoming show. “He does have a last name but he never uses it”, comments Tiana. “It’s a like a Cher vibe”, adds Caitlyn with a wry smile. “We also have a tech who has four lines in the show” remarks Caitlyn. “Have we told him he has lines yet?” asks Tiana. “Yes, I did”, answers Jayden. This conversation is emblematic of the role each of the writer/performers appear to take in this production, Caitlyn is full of energy and left-field ideas, Tiana is pragmatic and Jayden is the safe set of hands who doesn’t yearn for the spotlight.
But what or who brought these three together? “I did”, exclaims Caitlin. “I wanted to do a Fringe show and saw other shows and thought…we could do that”! “Caity and Tiana have been friends since high school” comments Jayden but Caitlin notes they added Jayden to the group because “he’s incredible”. While each finding their comedy feet through improv at The Improv Conspiracy, each has an underlying passion for the arts, even if it manifests in different dreams. “I want to write the next ‘Hey Arnold’” says Caitlyn, “I’m obsessed with Nickelodeon…the old school shows….that’s comedy not written for merchandise”. While Jayden and Tiana’s dreams may differ, they were drawn to improv via similar well-known entities in Amy Poehler or for Tiana, Ben Schwartz. “I love, love, love him. I used to love him way more than I do now”. “He was the reason I started improv…I met him and it was great…I’m sure he went and lived his life somewhere else and doesn’t think about it”.
When asked how they blend each of their personalities into a cohesive show, each of the members attest that it is their differences that make the show great. “That’s why our shows work, we all have different strengths and interests”, says Tiana. “I don’t think there’s any one thing that is one person’s work”. “That’s what we pride ourselves on…what’s come out is a Hit By a Blimp show’, says Jayden.
“It’s a real fun time, it will connect with people, they will relate to it”, says Jayden. “People will laugh, be surprised and connect in a way that you wouldn’t expect from a sketch show”. As ‘I’m Here’ will cover relatable content discussing day-to-day life, there is not much context audiences need to know before coming along other than to “laugh honestly” says Jayden, “but loudly” finishes Caitlyn.
Check out Hit By a Blimp’s 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival show ‘I’m Here’ from 13 to 17 September 2017 at the Courthouse Hotel. For more information and to book tickets, click here.
If you are a comedian, get in touch and we can sit down for an interview to talk about comedy. Or if you have a 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival show you want to talk about or want reviewed, contact Hugging Comedians on Facebook, Twitter or through the website.