BWW Interviews: Paul Marks OVER THE COUNTER, THE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION SHOW
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by Linda Ann Watt
Over The Counter Improv, THE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION SHOW is coming to the Actor's Theater of Charlotte on January 26, 2013. Over the Counter is a comedy improv class created by Paul Marks with an ensemble cast of Charlotte actors, who will keep you entertained. Forget about your New Year's resolution of losing weight, getting sober, or finally taking that pesky paternity test to see if you are the baby daddy, it's time to give up and deny! Tickets are now on sale at www.OTCimprov.com and 704-618-4203
I caught up with Paul on Monday as he was going through his busy day. We spoke about everything from Steve Jobs to creative logical. Over the Counter was named because improv is the best medicine around. Paul's enthusiasm is infectious and he's funny.
LAW: I can't detect an accent. Where are you from?
PM: I'm originally from Boston. My parents moved to Charlotte when I was twelve.
LAW: What is your background in comedy?
PM: In the '90s I did standup comedy. And then I had a two-person comedy act with my wife. I enjoyed standup, but I really enjoy improvisation and thinking on my feet.
LAW: How did you meet your wife?
PM: My mom owned BriarCliff Hall, an SAT tutoring school. I was working there and my wife, Kelly was working there as well. That's how we met. We've been together twenty years, and now I run Briarcliff. We have one daughter, Madison.
LAW: When did you start Over the Counter?
PM: Well I took a class in comedy improv and I loved it. 'Just playing off of what is said. I started Over the Counter. I've performed many shows, public and private and I teach. My students graduate from Level I to level III. It's hard to get to III. When my students get to level III, they can try out for the shows. I keep the performing cast to six performers. Any more, I find is too many.
LAW: When are your classes?
PM: Sunday evenings.
LAW: Do students complain that it's on a Sunday?
PM: Sometimes they mention they are missing Sunday Night Football, but they keep coming. I tell them this class will be the most fun they will have all week. And it's true.
LAW: Where are your classes?
PM: Office Suites Plus on Tyvola Glen Circle in Charlotte. I also teach an Enrichment Arts Program through Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools [CMS].
LAW: What's the upcoming show about?
PM: Every show has a theme. This show is about New Year's resolutions. And the audience gets to participate. Almost everybody has a resolution.
LAW: What is your favorite thing about Charlotte audiences?
PM: They're great. They participate and we take their suggestions. Charlotte audiences enjoy the shows. Our shows are for adult audiences, but I tell my actors to be clever not crass.
LAW: What's the worst gig you've ever done?
PM: When I do a private show for a corporation and they put me outside and serve lunch while I'm performing, there are just too many distractions.
LAW: What are your goals?
PM: I want to continue to perform to sell out crowds and continue to do private shows. I'd love to take my shows on the road, but that's a little expensive. Right now I'm happy performing Over the Counter at the Actor's Theater of Charlotte.
LAW: I'll be there.
PM: I look forward to seeing you.