Spitfire Spotlight: Craig Lawrence

Craig Lawrence

What's your day job?

Child Care Director.

Do you have any hobbies outside of improv?

Playing Softball and Craft Beers (I love checking out breweries).

What drew you to improv?

When I was in high school I did stagecraft, so I was involved with everything behind the scenes. But my drama teacher was always trying to get me on stage, I always said no. Then my junior and senior years he brought in friends of his from Second City to do workshops with the upper level drama kids and had me join them both times. I loved it. Fast forward a few years and I was taking classes at SAK Comedy Lab with a group of guys that eventually formed the original Big Ray's Rib Shack. We were performing every Friday night at a local church coffeehouse.

What do you like to do most on stage?

Taking the audience somewhere they were not expecting to go. Like the time each member of our team played a different drug in a scene. The audience loved it but definitely never expected it.

Craig Lawrence as ambien, Chad Zeller as cocaine, Andrew Bekas as LSD, and Michael Shurtz as salvia. You can watch the full scene  here , starting at 39:45.

Craig Lawrence as ambien, Chad Zeller as cocaine, Andrew Bekas as LSD, and Michael Shurtz as salvia. You can watch the full scene here, starting at 39:45.

What makes a good scene in your opinion?

When everyone is listening and reacting to each other, no one is leading and we get there organically. It is always amazing after a show when people ask you things like "how long did you practice that scene?" or "how do you remember all your lines?" That's when we know we took the audience on a ride, and they got lost in the moment.

What's the most memorable moment you've had at Spitfire?

It would have been the drug scene previously mentioned. But it has to be our last Spitfire Open show where Big Ray's Rib Shack tried a new style of show that we had never practiced until 15 minutes before the show. We kept one continuous two person scene going while rotating in a third player who tagged out one of the existing players on stage and as that person left the scene they endowed what style of game the scene would continue in until the next person tagged in and changed it. It was magical, we were in "the zone," everything was clicking.

How would you explain Spitfire shows to someone who's never been?

Spitfire is a very intimate space filled with super talented people. Every show is distinctly different but equally funny. All shows are "must see" shows. Where else can you see a Family Friendly Show, a Game Show and a Hip Hop Comedy Show all in the same night???

How would you describe the Spitfire community in 5 words or less?

Amazingly Talented, Welcoming, Fun People.

Craig Lawrence with his Big Ray’s Rib Shack teammates Michael Shurtz, Chad Zeller, and Jenna Lindie.

Craig Lawrence with his Big Ray’s Rib Shack teammates Michael Shurtz, Chad Zeller, and Jenna Lindie.

You can see Craig in Improvarama and The Spitfire Open with his team Big Ray’s Rib Shack. Along with Big Ray’s Rib Shack, he performs every Friday in Funny You Should Ask, our family friendly comedy show.