Q & A with Alli Soowal on Dual Duel

An Interview by Tom Hannigan

Alli Soowal is an improviser, instructor and director who’s made her mark both in short and long form around Philadelphia. At Figment Theater, Alli was a member of The Avengers and directed Rufus. She has performed in duos with Darryl Charles (Alli & Darryl) as well as Kristin Finger (Grey Gardens). At ComedySportz she’s a performer and instructor as well as the person behind their new competitive Improv tournament, Duel Duel.


TH: Where did the idea for Duel Duel come from?

AS: It actually came from an idea a few years ago. This started at ComedySportz Chicago and is also done in L.A. and I’ve wanted to try it here for awhile. I think this is a great way to get new people into the theater and to see people from all over the city come together and perform.


TH: I had no idea this was in other cities. Are there any differences?

AS: Yeah it started in Chicago,  their grand prize is $200.  In Los Angeles, the winning team gets a month long run at their theater. What we’re doing is a cash prize of $500.


TH: As an experienced performer in both short and long form, what are some ways you’ve found that they complement one another?

AS: For me, improv is improv. They’re two versions of the same beast. People who do more short form tend to attack a scene with a little more energy. With people who do more long form, they’ll do more patient scene work. When I teach, I say the basis of all improv is the two person scene. Even if it’s a competitive game you’re still being affected by your scene partner.

Improviser and instructor, Alli Soowal.
Improviser and instructor, Alli Soowal.
TH: If you could make a duo of any Philly based Improvisers who would they be?

AS: I’ll choose one CSz-based performer and one non: I think the best performer in the entire city is Mary Carpenter. She’s in a duo called Til Death Do Us Part which is in Duel Duel. She also does a duo called Dangerous Fools which is so good. With her I’d pick Scott Sheppard. He’s just such a phenomenal actor and improvisor, and I think the two of them would make magic on stage together!


TH: What do you hope for most with Duel Duel?

AS: Success, fame and fortune for everyone involved!  We are hoping it will be successful enough to produce annually. It’s great to see new people as well as established teams get to strut their stuff. I’m very excited for both the great duos we have seen before, as well as the new teams that have been created out of this venture.


Alli Soowal can be seen performing regularly with ComedySportz Philly. For tickets and information you can visit http://www.comedysportzphilly.com.

Duel Duel is at the Playground in the Adrienne Theater beginning July 11th and is every Monday until August 29th with the Finals on September 2nd. For tickets and more information you can visit http://www.dual-duel.com.