Go Deeper

Caroline Rhoads: A Seriously Funny Lady

Posted September 8th, 2011

Caroline Rhoads photographNot only is Caroline Rhoads a member of Philly Improv Theater (PHIT), she’s also in Josh McIllvain’s Fringe show, DEER HEAD. DEER HEAD is a series of ten-minute plays which center around compelling, serious dialogue that is also humorous. DEER HEAD pushes the envelope by presenting seemingly average characters who experience dysfunctional interactions with others, be it a disillusioned co-worker or the lingering awkwardness of a previous relationship.

Caroline, 24, grew up outside of Hershey, PA. She attended a performing arts high school, where class often ended with improv games. This is when Caroline realized how much she enjoyed improv: “I remember loving the freedom it gave me. Unlike a play, where every choice you make must be in line with the character’s intentions/personality- there are no wrong answers in improv. I like how as a performer you are encouraged not to think, which is very liberating.” In college, she began improvising with the Stephens College improv troupe, Happy Tuesday Players, and has also studied with the famed Second City. After graduation, Caroline moved to Philadelphia to pursue acting, and along the way, joined Philly Improv Theater. She performs with PHIT’s house team Asteroid!

Caroline’s favorite comedic actor is Steve Carell, whom she first saw in “Little Miss Sunshine.” She noticed that “his dramatic and comedic performance were impressive. You can be a great comedian and a strong dramatic actor as well…in some cases they fuel one another.” For Caroline, the most challenging thing about improv is layering in texture to a show or scene (like climax, pace, callbacks, etc.) but still maintaining the mantra “don’t think.” She says, “the hardest thing for me is remembering the gifts my fellow performers give at the top and then bringing them back at the end of a Harold. I’m just so wrapped up in how much fun I am having that I have to stop and say, ‘wait, Caroline, let’s focus on structure too!'”

Caroline also just wrapped up filming for a movie called “Natural Rejection,” a sci-fi thriller with a moral twist. It’s her first feature film as the lead. Hopefully you’ll see it on dvd by next summer! Caroline is also pursuing several teaching opportunities: she plans on joining Theatre Horizon and Walking Fish Theatre in the Fall for some after-school programs.

–Christina Snyder

DEER HEAD runs September 14-17 at the Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, Spring Garden. 7:00 pm, $15.

Asteroid! finishes its run September 13 and 14 at the Mainstage at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Rittenhouse Square. 8:30 pm both nights, $15.