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Tracie Mauk is a Norfolk native who has performed on stages across the country. From stand- up to storytelling, theatre to improv, you’ll probably be quoting a Tracie line from the show on your way home.
What I do:  I started acting on stage in 2006 and have been regularly involved in community theater for nearly 10 years, now. I began learning and performing improv comedy in 2012, starting with short form and incorporating long form experience soon after that and haven’t stopped since. I consider both of these moves two of the best things I’ve done in my life and have profoundly changed and enriched me as a person like soulful uranium. (though the time I used to spend cartooning has greatly suffered from my immense joy and support from the stage) In addition to Big Canvas, I am a member of the improv troupes Words with Friends with Benefits, Sharktank Redemption, TEN, Nevermore, and The Sitcom, encompassing a number of different forms and styles. I am also a sitting board member of the Florentine Players theatre.
Background & Influences: I started learning improv in Norfolk, NE from actor John Stinson. When I moved to Omaha, I began to learn short form from Derek Kowal (Florentine Players), Monty Eich (The Weisenheimers), and Andrew McGreevy (Skullduggery Theater). I was first taught long form improv by Backline-founder Dylan Rhode and am a graduate of his program. I have absorbed as much knowledge and experience I can from brilliant coaches like Doug Rothgeb, Tim Schoenfeld, and Nick Rowley and the advice and teachings of Amber Ruffin, Justin Franzen, and Rick Andrews. I have performed alongside The Weisenheimers, 88improv, and members of Kansas City’s Babies. My biggest influences in improv have been Paul F. Tompkins, Matt Gourley, Amy Poehler, and every person I have mentioned in this ridiculous, namedroppy writing.
Teaching philosophy: I want you to succeed. It’s so easy to fill yourself with the thought that you can’t do something and there are so few people who seem willing to tell you that you can. I never believed I could be an improviser. I loved the theater, I loved the safety of memorization and being able to rehearse and perfect every move and every word. Working outside of those boundaries was an absolutely terrifying notion. To not know what will happen next, to not know what anyone, much less yourself, will do or say... it sounded downright dangerous to be that out of control of a situation happening in front of strangers who paid to be there. I was sure that I could never do that... until I met people, like the ones mentioned above, who believed that I could. Suddenly I found myself doing things I never dreamed possible with a confidence and daring that I never believed I have but quickly realized was always there, buried beneath the surface. I believe that’s within you as well... and if I’ve learned anything through all of this, it’s that all it takes is for someone to believe in you to unlock what you didn’t know you could believe in yourself. (to that extent, believe in your fellow performers and never tell them they can’t do an accent or character trait or wild choice... the minute you stop believing in what’s happening in the scene you’re in, the audience stops believing with you)
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