featured image: Connory Ballantyne
Actress Veronkia Slowikowska
was born and raised in Barrie, Canada and is now based in Toronto. She has a recurring role in the highly anticipated series What We Do in the Shadows
which premieres this month. She’ll play the nerdy and sassy Shanice. Veronika is also a member of the sketch group My Chemical Bromance
which will be appearing in the 2019 Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival.
I had a chance to ask Veronika some questions about her upcoming projects and training. She’s a total joy and I’m excited to see what she’s got coming her way!
Audrey Kearns: When was your first experience in the performing arts?
Veronika Slowikowska: My first musical was a community theatre production when I was about 12. We travelled around different elementary schools performing. I didn’t get paid but I got to miss two weeks of school. It was awesome.
AK: Do you remember the first time you thought, ‘Hey, I might like to do this for a living?’
VS: I don’t think there was ever a moment. Since day one I’ve wanted to be a performer.
AK: You do sketch comedy. I did too, a life time ago. I stumbled into it when my boyfriend, now husband, said ‘Hey, we need a girl. Do you wanna be in my sketch group?’ Yes, super romantic and not great for the ego but, it started an epic ten-year adventure that was so important to my creative and personal growth. You have a sketch comedy group called My Chemical Bromance. First of all, great name. Second, how did my Chemical Bromance come to be?
VS: Aw, that IS romantic! He must’ve thought you were funny, that’s a great compliment. Thank you! My Chemical Bromance consists of me and my two best friends. We grew up together and met through community theatre in our tween days. We all moved to Toronto eventually and stayed friends. They are the funniest people I know. I remember thinking, why are we not performing? So we met and wrote. Our first performance ever, we couldn’t stop laughing. Love them both, shoutout Emma and Sam!
AK: Does My Chemical Bromance focus on certain themes for the comedy or is everything fair game?
VS: My Chemical Bromance is character based sketch. We play three teen drama nerds from Barrie, Ontario in Canada who perform “improv” (everything is planned) in front of a live audience. We sing lots, dance lots, and pretend to smoke cigars lots. It’s a wild time.
AK: You also do improv. What came first for you, improvising or sketch comedy?
VS: I did a bit of improv in my hometown and when I studied at Randolph Academy. I ended up searching for classes a few years later and auditioned for Second City’s Conservatory and got in. That’s where I learned how to write sketch through improv. That was two or three years ago and I haven’t stopped. The Toronto community sucks you in and you get addicted.
AK: Did improvisation frighten you at first or were you already all in?
VS: Improvisation scared me at first. I remember taking a class when I was 16 for the first time and being so self conscious, constantly trying to be funny. The boys in my class were confident, willing to fall on their faces and I would stand there stuck, scared to embarrass myself. It’s hard to “stop thinking” but once you do that’s when the magic happens. But you get through that and you stop caring what people think!
AK: I find that improvising can really help with personal growth as well as creative growth. Has improv helped you with any facets of your personal life?
VS: For sure! Improv helps me every single day. Meeting people for the first time, on awkward dates, parties! It’s a great skill to have, even for non-performers. I have anxiety and improv saves me a lot.
AK: What’s your favorite thing about performing live comedy whether improv or sketch?
VS; My favourite thing about performing improv and sketch is laughing. Also not being on my phone!
AK: Congratulations on your role in What We Do in the Shadows. I love the film and its low key comedy and dry delivery. Were you a fan of the film before you auditioned?
VS: Thank you! Oh yes, I was a very big fan. First thing I said to the casting director was “I love the movie and I’m so happy just to be auditioning”
AK: How did your comedy training help out during the audition process?
VS: In the audition we got to improvise! Also I’m a huge fan of mockumentaries and know the style well. I just finished binging American Vandal Season 2 and couldn’t wait to improvise a “talking head” scene.
AK: Can you share a bit about your character?
VS: My characters name is Shanice. She’s an awkward, insecure, sassy, “nerd”. She was a blast to play.
AK: When I first saw the trailer for the new series, I was delighted to see a female presence in it which was not really there in the film. Did you find that it was important to the producers and writers to make sure that there were female characters?
VS: Absolutely! And they got some of the funniest female comedians in the game.
AK: Was there any improvising done on set or did everyone stick to the script?
VS: We improvised lots! We used the script lots! It was a great set to be on creatively.
AK: What do you have coming up, Veronika?
VS: My Chemical Bromance is in the Toronto Sketch Festival in March! Check out Toronto Sketch Festival’s website for dates. Also I wrote and produced a web series that’s a sister project to My Chemical Bromance, our Independent Production Fund (IPF) trailer is on Facebook and YouTube under A Boy’s Memoir, so check that out!
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