Company Member since 2012
Coach since 2013
Rebecca Poretsky hails from Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY. She began improvising as a SIKO (Smith Improv Komedy Organization) at Smith College in Northampton, MA. She credits improv with keeping her sane there amidst the sheer overwhelm of all the Government and International Relations classes she took in an attempt to learn how to Solve the World’s Problems.
Rebecca has since determined that improv might just be the way to solve the world’s problems. At the least, it provides a great approach to moving through the world and embracing all of its uncertainty, absurdity, humor, and beauty. She is delighted to be able to live and share that philosophy as a BATS player and coach.
In the Bay Area she’s played and directed with improv groups Big City Improv, Crisis Hopkins, and Un-Scripted Theater Company. Rebecca has performed live and video sketch comedy (Crisis Hopkins, the Kasper Hauser Comedy Group) and original solo performance (I Left My Heart in Brooklyn — The Marsh). She starred as Señorita Panochista in Spring Break: The Musical, an original production written and produced by the Mortified team. She has also performed with BRAVA for Women in the Arts in San Francisco and the Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont and in New York City.
Rebecca is part of the ensemble cast of Flummox and Friends, an independently produced television show that teaches social and emotional skills to quirky kids and families. She also co-wrote and co-starred in Catlandia, a PSA/loving homage to Portlandia.
As a member of the BATS Improv @ Work team, the Applied Improvisation Network, and independently, Rebecca conducts trainings that apply improvisational principles to help teams in businesses and organizations work better together, let go, and have fun.
If she is not performing or teaching improv, you will ideally find Rebecca on her trusty orange bicycle or working on her handstands. Rebecca lives in San Francisco with her spotty dog Pebbles and spends too much time listening to podcasts. Find her online at: rebeccaporetsky.com.
Q & A
What do you like about improv?
It’s fun and scary and gets me out of my head and out of my own way. It helps me rein in my mischievous monkey mind! I also love that, as improvisers, we get to be actors, directors, and writers, all in the same show. Wait. Did I already say it’s fun? IT IS ALSO UNBELIEVABLY FUN.
What was your first BATS Show?
Theatresports™, on a team with William and Zoe. I don’t think I had ever even BEEN to a Theatresports show before then!
What are your favorite formats?
It’s so hard to pick! I love the variety of Super Scene, and the ability to toggle back and forth as director and player. I love Farce and Family Drama — formats where you can sink into characters, locations, and relationships, and amazing trouble inevitably bubbles up.
Why should people study improv?
I truly can’t think of a reason why people should NOT study improv. It can help unleash your innate creativity and help you relate to and connect with different people in ways you didn’t even know were possible. You can laugh a ridiculous amount. You can practice taking risks in a safe environment. It can be personally both empowering and humbling, and it brings larger awareness to the world outside of yourself. I really believe that anyone and everyone can benefit from taking an improv class!
Any improv advice?
Show up. In every sense of that phrase. Show up all the time. As much as you can. As best as you can.
What are your artistic influences?
A very incomplete current sampling: performers Lucille Ball, Sarah Jones, Carrie Brownstein, and Christopher Guest; illustrators Roz Chast and Wendy MacNaughton; my BATS colleagues; and people-watching, primarily on public transit
The Shawshank Redemption