Spitfire Spotlight: Juan Salazar
What's your day job?
I'm currently working nights at Birchwood as a server. I recently got another job as a bartender at Left Bank Bistro, which I'll be working during the days on Fridays and Saturdays.
Do you have any hobbies outside of improv?
My hobbies outside of improv are mainly just hanging out with friends. Whether that's eating or drinking at different restaurants or bars, to trying new adventures like kayaking in different cities, skydiving, or just simply hanging out at someone's house and watching a movie. When I'm by myself, I usually like to go rock climbing at Vertical Ventures, watch Netflix, read some manga, or just try to find events around the area and explore all the exciting opportunities that St. Pete has to offer.
What drew you to improv?
I always wanted to be on stage ever since I was young. I wanted to join drama club in high school, but I was too shy and afraid back then to do it. Now that I'm a lot older and more courageous, I decided to try out improv because it's something that I always wanted to try. It's out of my comfort zone at times, but it's fun and it allows me to be creative and just learn to go with the flow and adapt to whatever situation is thrown at me. The best part about it is that I'm still afraid and nervous to do it at times, it's just now I'm more expressive of myself. What draws me in the most are the moments when I make the audience laugh, even though when I'm on stage I have no idea how I even came up with what I said during that moment.
What do you like to do most on stage?
I just like having fun and being in the present moment when I'm on stage. Even when it's hard to think of something to do on stage or there's moments of writer’s block, everything on stage just feels so exhilarating that I sometimes forget that I'm even on stage. The idea of being in an imaginative situation and actually acting it out without a script is just a lot fun, cause I never know what to expect.
What makes a good scene in your opinion?
I believe a good scene happens when the characters provide a story that connects to the audience and allows them to get involved with the characters on stage in an imaginative way, along with an element of surprise that provides humor to the situation or scene. Even without the humor, a good story or background allows people to become curious and invested into wondering more about what's going to happen next with the characters.
What's the most memorable moment you've had at Spitfire?
The most memorable moment I've had at Spitfire was when I was doing a monologue scene during my last class of Level 1, where I was supposed to die and had to do it in around 5 minutes. I was dying and I thought I had less time, but I actually had a lot more time, so I had no idea how was I supposed to keep dying. So I just kept coughing and rolling around the floor, rambling on about regrets and how painful and long my death was taking. At the moment, I definitely felt like time was taking an eternity. Hopefully my real death will be quick and painless.
How would you explain Spitfire shows to someone who's never been?
A Spitfire show is a show you can't really explain. You just have to show up to a show and experience it for yourself.
How would you describe the Spitfire community in 5 words or less?
Friends, encouraging, imagination, and omnipotence.
You can see Juan perform in his Level 1 Student Showcase, which can be found on our YouTube channel.