Kyle Van Frank has been making audiences smile since he arrived to the Suncoast in 2019. As a cast member of FST Improv, he brings manic energy and effervescent musical numbers to shows such as Out of Bounds, Triple Play, and FST Improv’s summer hit, Life’s A Beach.
We sat down with Kyle to learn more about his history with improv comedy, as well as what he thinks makes Sarasota such an exceptional place to make people laugh.
You’ve been a member of FST Improv for about two years now, and you’ve made quite the impression with your memorable characters and clever on-the-spot songwriting. How did you get into improv?
I first did improv in high school, but I kind of lost touch with it in college. Then I came to FST and started taking classes from some of our incredible teachers, and eventually, I had the opportunity to join the main FST Improv cast! I’ve enjoyed those experiences more than any other art form I’ve ever done. There’s just something so freeing about improv. What you do onstage will never and can never be re-created and I love it! If it was awful, no one will ever have to watch it again. If it was great, you shared something with the audience that is singular to that moment.
How would you describe FST Improv’s summer show, Life’s A Beach, for someone new to Sarasota?
Life’s a Beach is the perfect show for someone who’s lived in Sarasota for twenty years or who is just passing through town for the weekend. The show definitely has some fan-favorite games. My favorite, for sure, is “Sounds Like a Song.” I never know what is coming in this game – the setting, the characters, the plot – much less the song’s lyrics or melodies. It keeps you on your toes, and the audience always has fun.
In Life’s A Beach, you have to keep coming up with new ideas, but you never let it faze you. What is going through your head during a show? How do your prepare yourself for all that hilarity?
I try to keep my mind fairly blank during the show. If I start thinking about other things, it clouds my ability to be present, listen, and respond. That’s the key to improv. Listening. You have to listen to your scene partners, support them, and trust they’ll support you.
Is there anything you hope audiences take away from their time with FST Improv this summer?
I hope people smile, laugh, and get a chance to exhale after what has been one long inhale of a year-and-a-half. We say all the time that people need art, but it’s really true. People need an escape right now, and I’m a firm believer that laughter is absolutely the best medicine.
In the time that you’ve been living in Sarasota, what has surprised you the most about this community? What is something you love about and love to laugh at about Sarasota?
People here don’t let age dictate their lives. For this community, age is really just a number. I am constantly blown away by people’s willingness to let loose, try something new, and live life to the fullest. That takes courage and a whole lot of confidence. However, I’ll never stop laughing at the driving!
Life’s A Beach will play in FST’s Bowne’s Lab every Saturday night at 7:30PM through July 31. For tickets and more information, click here.