One of the funniest women in storytelling is returning to Philly this weekend. And she’s coming to share her skills with you!
Meet Giulia Rozzi, NYC based comedian, actress, writer, and Moth Grand Slam champion. Her personal, blunt, and animated comedy has earned her the honor of being a Boston Comedy Festival finalist, one of the Frisky’s “Top 15 To watch,” and two ECNY “Best Female Stand Up” nominations. You may remember her from such First Person Arts programs as Slam Nation and Stripped Stories. She also co-hosted the 2011 Fall Grand Slam with Margot Leitman (Stripped Stories). www.giuliarozzi.com
This weekend Giulia’s coming back to town to lead a Storytelling Master Class on transforming personal experiences into entertaining, engaging, and funny performances. For more info and to enroll click here.
I caught up with Giulia this week to get to know her a little better and ask some questions about her career and what we can look forward to in her upcoming class.
Becca: It’s easy to see you’re a multi-talented artist. Your accomplishments span acting, comedy, and writing. How did you get started?
Giulia: I was, as most performers say, always a performer since I was a kid and always a writer too (I have lots of poems from childhood that I wrote about food if you ever want to read them). In high school I auditioned for all the plays but since most were musicals ( and I’m not a great singer) I never got a speaking role so when the HS drama department put on a cabaret night I decided to try stand-up. I think I stole most of my act from TV but whatever, I was 17 and it was awesome. A few years later I did an open mic at Nick’s Comedy Stop in Boston then a few locally produced shows in my college town of Ithaca New York, I also did improv and wrote plays and personal essays in college. My plan after graduation was to live in Boston and go to grad school for Expressive Arts Therapy ( I loved the idea of using the arts to heal) but after a cross-country road trip I ended up staying in LA and working as a regular comic at the Comedy Store in Hollywood, it was a surprising, amazing, anxiety-filled, turn of events but it got my professional career started and boosted my confidence and now performing and writing is what I do for a living. And I still try to implement that healing vibe into my work by sharing really personal stuff in hopes that my audience can relate, feel less alone, and laugh at how f’d up we all are.
Becca: Humor plays a big part in your own work. Why use humor? Would friends say you’re a funny person off the stage?
Giulia: Humor just feels right to me, I mean I’m a comedian so it’s part of the job. Humor allows us to talk about things that are often otherwise considered taboo, uncomfortable, and scary. If I shared my stories in a totally serious way my performances would come across less like entertainment and more like a therapy session. I’m the same off stage as I am off, so yes I always have a silly, blunt, funny vibe to me. I get that from my parents, who even at the angriest, saddest or most inappropriate times, they’d crack jokes, it broke tension and allowed us to laugh at ourselves.
Becca: What’s your writing process like for your own storytelling work? Do you prefer to hand write or type your stories? Do you develop them in a few sittings or collect stories over a period of time and knit them together?
Giulia: It varies. If I’m prepping for a specific show with a specific topic and/or deadline I would probably type it up and use the essay form of my story to help craft the piece. I rarely stick to script word for word, I use it as a guide so I’m not all over the place and then allow myself to improvise a little based off of the audience’s reaction (ie: oooh that part of the story just made everyone more sad that I expected, let me make a light joke to ease the tension so we can move on). I also come up with lots of stories by just hanging out with friends, I’ll start sharing something over dinner and my friends are like “you should tell this on stage!” and so I get out my Iphone and start typing notes to later weave into a more structured piece.
Becca: You’ll be leading a 2-day Storytelling Master Class at First Person Arts. What can participants look forward to?
Giulia: We are going to have a lot of fun and freedom to play and experiment in a safe, non judgmental space. Students will walk away with new story ideas they may have never even thought to tell.
Becca: What are you most looking forward to about teaching the class?
Giulia: Hearing people’s stories! I really enjoy helping people dig through through lives and finding those story gems, it’s the best when someone walks into my class and says ‘I don’t really think I have anything interesting to share” then by the end of day two they are overflowing with ideas.