Audio by Valerie Lopez, Words by Richard Goodwin
Nestled in the cozy setting of Cosmic Beer Garden, Valerie Lopez sits down this week with Arielle LaGuette, a multi-talented performer living at the intersection of music and comedy, weaving them into unique, delightful, stage experiences.
LaGuette’s love of comedy started in high school theater, drawn to the stage by the allure of extracting laughter from the audience. Though her heart soon turned to music in college, moving (back) to Austin and getting involved in the improv sketch scene has enabled her to keep a healthy balance between the two passions. “Getting back into improv really re-ignited my love of theater,” she says, “and one of my favorite parts of my live music shows now is the banter I get to do between songs”. That fortuitous wedding of improv and music really has combined to make her relationship with both art forms that much stronger.
LaGuette’s musical conduit of choice is the ukelele, that often unassuming instrument that truly talented performers can coax into amazing, unique art forms. She picked it up in college, alongside the guitar, in her sophomore year at UNT (University of North Texas). Shortly after, she started crafting her own songs. Confidence in her music didn’t come quickly, and once again the importance of improv in her life makes an appearance: her later training gave her the secrets to bring back her stage persona and really quell her internal doubts.
“I made some of my best friends in my improv classes,” LaGuette says. As she tells Valerie, the training and performing regimen really enhances any kind of stage or communication experiences you may run into. Among her first improv experiences was Disposable Income Freak Show (which has gone on to be hosted at the renowned Second City Chicago), and she was a regular in the popular Austin Megaphone Show. One of her current shows, Shit-Faced Shakespeare is an impressively hilarious mashup of serious Shakespearean stage performance, with the wildcard that at each performance one of the actors becomes, in the Bard’s words, a malt-worm (source: Henry IV). For those not well-versed in Shakespearean English, that means one lucky cast member gets sufficiently drunk before the action starts. I believe the Bard himself would approve of “spirits” becoming its own character. It’s a daring balance that requires all the talents of a Shakespearean performance with the unpredictable nature of just-in-time improvisation.
LaGuette’s second musical EP release, Case of the Times, dropped in February 2018, after what she calls her “Texas tour”, and she performs regularly as she continues to drive towards making music her primary focus. In the interview, she gives Valerie a peek into how her mind works when crafting the stories in her songs, and what the journey means to her.
Whether you see her in a comedic role, or at a musical performance strumming her ukelele backed by a live band, Arielle Laguette is someone you don’t want to miss. Catch LaGuette select Friday and Saturday nights in Shit-Faced Shakespeare (currently running Romeo and Juliet) and at her musical performances coming up:
Stay up to date with more shows, and find out how to connect with LaGuette on social media, at ArielleLaguette.com