In 2005 I was performing with the SansScript Players at the Bovine Metropolis Theater. The light person was a young affable guy who was friends with one of the other cast members, Ryan Williams. His name was Chris Woolf.
Chris had recently completed classes at the time and was eager to discuss improv at the bar after the show each night. “Chris Woolf is a nice guy.” I thought to myself. Not soon after I was a writer for a sketch show called “Bleep, the What?” that included Chris, Ryan Williams, Mark Shonsey, Carl Anderson, and John Everett. The experience was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about the inner workings of a sketch show. Chris was the lead in a number of the sketch’s I wrote and I was impressed how he was able to make so much more out of the words I had put on the page. “Chris Woolf is really funny.” I thought to myself.
Chris went to work for the Impulse Theater after “Bleep, the What?”. First doing lights and then as a performer. I hadn’t seen Chris play for a while but it was after he had done a fairly long stint doing lights and after he had begun performing with Impulse. I remember watching him perform in a long form show and telling my wife afterwards. “Chris Woolf is amazing.” I repeat those same words whenever I see him perform today.
I always felt that some of Chris’ success was due to his approach. I think there is a lot to be learned by watching. Whether you are watching seasoned improvisers or a graduating class you can always learn something; how to do it, what to do, or even what not to do. I’m guessing all those nights in the light booth were an important part of his improv education.
I also respect the way Chris puts himself out there. Chris plays a lot, and that is another way to increase your level. Chris is always taking chances whether it is playing with different groups or being the musical accompaniment for Hit and Run. He is an incredibly smart player and his characters range from tough to sweet that audiences can relate to. I was very proud of him when he was nominated for an Ovation Award for Redneck Romeo and Juliet as Best Supporting Comedic Actor. It goes to show what happens when you combine a great idea with a great performer. An improviser being nominated for the Ovation award is a big deal and a testament to his talent.
I’m very happy that Chris is part of our community, and am fortunate whenever I get to play with him. Support him. He’s probably playing somewhere tonight…