The Skinny

The Skinny on… Matthew Rogers

What was your favorite toy as a child?

When I was a child, I used to have a professional wrestling league that was entirely made up of stuffed animals. They would have beefs with one another, team up against common enemies, and generally engage in storylines. My favorite was a little Snuggles bear, the fabric softener mascot. He wasn't the biggest stuffed animal, but he had the grit and determination to be champion. I even took that bear into a tonsillectomy with me.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

At the current moment it's the Pig Pit BBQ in Cohoes. It's close to where I live, the food is absolutely brilliant, and the owner, Dave aka Tex, has a cart that comes near my workplace so I can get it for lunch. The pulled pork there is the best in the area.

Are you involved in any creative projects you’d like to tell people about?

Apart from MopCo, I've come to view my entire life as a creative project. I'm sure this answer will thrill my parents!

How do you prepare before Mopco performances?

I'm not totally prepared for a performance until I've done enough nervous pacing that it makes other performers nervous. Then we can share all those nerves on stage. 

How do you prepare to teach Mopco classes?

I don't teach any classes for MopCo. Though I think an emphasis on personal connection is important, so I would probably focus on that.

Would you rather travel to the moon or the bottom of the sea?

I'd rather go to the moon. You'd have a spacesuit so you could do things like view the earth and the rest of space from an entirely new vantage point, jump around in low gravity, maybe hit a golf ball, and get some peace and quiet. I mean, you would be the most secluded person at that point. Mountain hermits would have nothing on you.

 

What’s the best advice you ever got?

"Sometimes the impossible just takes a little longer," which came from my dad. 

What’s your motto?

"This too shall pass."

What do you look for in an improv scene? 

There's that magical moment, when the scene is going well, that you just connect with the other people on stage and it seems like the rest of the world drops away. You achieve a sort of flow with everyone and you don't want it to stop. That high is worth the struggle. 

The Skinny on… Johnny Vanstone

 

What was your favorite toy as a child? 

Anything Batman related.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? 

Tea House Asian Bistro in Delmar

Are you involved in any creative projects you’d like to tell people about? 

Musicals!  As many pits as I can finagle my way into.

How do you prepare before Mopco performances? 

Listen to pop tunes on the radio.

Would you rather travel to the moon or the bottom of the sea? 

The moon; I'd love to try the gravity.

What’s the best advice you ever got? 

Life is what YOU make it.

What’s your motto? 

Live and let live.

 

The Skinny on... Sam Gorenstein

What was your favorite toy as a child?

It was an egg-shaped penguin with a little chime inside, and whenever you knocked it over, it would pop right back up.


What’s your favorite local restaurant?

That’s a tough one. There are a bunch! Pizza Gram Plus, Red Front, El Loco, and Hudson River Coffee House come to mind.

Are you involved in any creative projects you’d like to tell people about?

Yes! In addition to working with the wonderful folks at MopCo, I'm also working with the wonderful folks behind the web series Mix & Master. The show is a behind-the-scenes look at a fictional recording studio. The pilot is already online. Please do check it out!

I also do stand-up comedy around the Capital Region, and practice regularly at the Lark Tavern Comedy Open Mic (8 p.m. on Mondays). If you want to see some of your favorite local comics hone their material in its earlier stages, it’s a fun place to stop by, and it’s free.

How do you prepare before Mopco performances?

 I turn into a falcon and fly across the city, consuming the atmosphere as it settles my soul. I can only do this for two hours though, or else I am stuck in bird form for life. 

Otherwise, I run through exercises with my fellow improvisers so we can get in sync.

There’s a lot to be said for connecting with your scene partners!


How do you prepare to teach Mopco classes?

While I’ve never taught a MopCo class myself, I have seen others prepare. The rituals are ominous, yet beautiful: intricate movements, fine robes, and, of course, the book of incantations. Someday, I may dance beneath the harvest moon and chant the sacred oaths. Until then, I stand in admiration of those who do.

Would you rather travel to the moon or the bottom of the sea?

Neither has oxygen. Would I be allowed to bring oxygen? 

If yes, then the moon, because who wouldn’t want to explore space? 

If no, then still the moon, because even if I suffocate, astronauts would come across my body later and be like “What? How did this get here?” and there would be investigations and inquiries, and no one would ever know. It would be one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of all time.

What’s the best advice you ever got?

Treat people with respect. Listen. If something is important to you, don’t put it off.

Are you involved in any charitable work you’d like to tell people about?

Well, if you’re looking for a place to volunteer, I strongly recommend the Teresian House Center for the Elderly, in Albany, New York. The workers and residents there are genuinely some of the nicest, most dedicated people I’ve had the opportunity to meet.

Sam in Mopco's Spontaneous Broadway

Sam in Mopco's Spontaneous Broadway

What’s your motto?

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When life hands you hands, get away as fast as you can, because anyone who just has a pile of hands sitting around that they give to other people is probably a serial killer.

 

 

And last but certainly not least, what’s your favorite soda?

Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry.



The Skinny on.... Kendle Butterworth!

Mopco cast member since 2014

What was your favorite toy as a child?

My tree swing that I would ride and pretend I was riding dragons. 

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

Sake Café on New Scotland and Sitar Indian Restaurant.

Are you involved in any creative projects you’d like to tell people about?

I am so happy to teach at Camp Shakespeare at Winedale each summer, a residential program in which we teach Shakespeare through performance in Round Top, Texas. I also love teaching the new MopCo Improv Youth Troupe! 

How do you prepare before MopCo performances?

Relax, talk, and laugh with other MopCo members. 

How do you prepare to teach MopCo classes?

Careful planning of a sequence of games in order of increasing difficulty! 

Would you rather travel to the moon or the bottom of the sea?

The bottom of the sea because swimming is a big hobby. 

What’s the best advice you ever got?

“Run around the couch.” – Don Wade, my dad. 

Are you involved in any charitable work you’d like to tell people about?

I help the Mathare Youth Talented Organization in Kenya get volunteers to come work with them. 

What’s your motto?

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

 

 

Where would you most love to be, any day, any time?

Riding a horse, reading a great book, traveling, or doing awesome theatre. Maybe all at once. 

 

Here is Kendle in action: Demonstrating an improv game called "The Gift Giving Game." Give it a try at a party or in the office!

 
 

The Skinny on... Matthew Brom!

Mopco cast member since 2011


What was your favorite toy as a child?

Building blocks

 

What’s your favorite local restaurant?
Ali Baba

 

How do you prepare before Mopco performances?
Mentally, I take some time to let go of the things that are on my mind.

 

Would you rather travel to the moon or the bottom of the sea?
Bottom of the sea. I find it interesting how much of the planet we live on is still a vast mystery.

 

What’s your motto?
Don't follow people who aren’t leading.