Sarah Durham may be relative newcomer to the Gulf Coast, but she has quickly proven herself a comedic force to be reckoned with.
Since her arrival in 2018, Durham has become a featured performer with FST Improv, even becoming one of the champions of the troupe’s annual Out of Bounds comedy tournament.
We sat down with Durham to hear more about what excites her the most about FST Improv’s upcoming slate of summer comedy shows.
FST Improv returns this summer with Life’s A Beach, a show that pokes fun at all things Sarasota. How would you describe it as someone who recently settled on the Suncoast, yourself?
What’s a better way to get to know a place than to laugh at it? In Life’s A Beach, we hit all the highlights of the Suncoast in 90 minutes, from Gator Club to the never-ending hunt for parking. And, as much as it is local humor, it’s really broad at the same time. Even if you don’t get the exact reference, you’ll know the type of places we’re talking about because they’re all situations that anybody can relate to.
Aside from the theme, is there anything else that sets this show apart from other FST Improv shows in terms of technique, games, etc?
You’ll see a laundry list of games that are audience favorites, but we’re throwing in some new ones as well. Life’s A Beach is much more locally-focused than our other shows, but uses the same short-form games and techniques. I particularly enjoy the games where we lampoon Sarasota sports and all the festivals we have here.
Life’s A Beach marks FST Improv’s first performances at full capacity in over a year. It also marks the troupe’s return to FST’s Bowne’s Lab! What are you most looking forward to with this return to full live performances and returning to your “home venue?“
I’m so looking forward to being able to go back into the audience again! I’ve really missed some of the games that allowed us to move around the entire theatre and we’re bringing those games back. Plus, the Bowne is much better suited for audience participation. There’s also something very informal about the Bowne that allows you to get comfy, order a drink, and just enjoy the ride.
To you, what is the best thing and what is the strangest thing about Sarasota?
I really enjoy how much of a melting pot it is. I think in my three years here I can count on one hand the number of people who were born and raised in the area. Most of us are transplants, and the community really embraces that. I’m also a massive foodie, and there are so many incredible places to eat and niche markets to shop for groceries.
The strangest has got to be the roundabouts, or more specifically, how people don’t know how to use them correctly. As a Kentuckian, the strangest traffic phenomenon I experienced would be trying to get to school while driving behind a tractor. Here people just drive the speed of a tractor.
Before Life’s A Beach, you were a regular cast member in FST Improv’s socially-distanced show Triple Play. Is there anything you discovered while participating in that show that you are bringing to Life’s A Beach?
First, I’m going to have to break some of the socially distanced measures that I got into my body. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to be within arms’ reach of my vaccinated cast mates again! But really, throughout the run of Triple Play, we learned to be more creative with how we play and how we create relationships on stage. We had these massive obstacles we had to work around together and that bonded us as a cast.
FST Improv performs every Saturday night in FST's Bowne's Lab Theatre. For tickets and more information, click here.