All of our performers have extensive experience in acting and stand-up comedy; a few of us have stepped behind the scenes to hone our skills in directing and film production.
Mary Jane Pories
Mary Jane Pories, (Master of Arts in Education, Actors’ Equity Association) is an alumna of the renowned comedy theater The Second City, and an award-winning actor/improviser and writer. Besides commercial work, she has appeared in a number of independent films including “Living with the Fosters,” “The Gospel According to Roy,” and “The Sandwich Days.” Traditional stage work in local theaters as well as directing and producing some short films of her own provide ongoing satisfaction. (Click here to see a recent production.) Along with directing, producing and performing in Fishschtick, Mary Jane also performs with Mental Lipstick. Fishschtick is the proud winner of several On The Town magazine Silver Townie awards for Best Improv Troupe.
Joe tours the country as one of the headlining comedians on the We Can Make You Laugh National Comedy Tour. He’s won an MTV stand-up comedy competition and performed with the famed The Second City touring company. In 2001 he wrote and directed the award-winning comedy, Living With the Fosters. Joe currently directs the improv troupe Mental Lipstick.
Amy is a veteran (of the stage) and has been performing everything from ballet to improv to Shakespeare for 37 years. She has a degree in Theater from Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, which she mostly uses to get football tickets in the fall. Amy is a founding member of Dog Story Theater.
Bob’s passion is long form improvisation. Besides performing long form whenever he can, Bob has also performed with River City Improv, Vidalia and Shy Quiet People. During the day, he and his wife Kris own and operate Viking Fitness, a retail store featuring high-end fitness equipment.
Demian Krentz has been a corporate and club comedian for over 15 years. He co-produced Living with the Fosters and is the lead singer in a local band called The Marones. Currently Demian works for Harpo Studios in Chicago and is studying improvisation in the Conservatory Program at The Second City Training Center in Chicago. Besides performance, Demian uses his vast talent to help write customized material for Fishladder Inc.
Ralph was born in India, his late South African-born father working for the Government at the time. Educated in England he attended Marlborough College,Wiltshire and then University College at the University of Durham where he graduated with a BA(Hons)in Modern History. Following post-graduate classical training at LAMDA, Ralph spent 15 years in mainstage theatre in London, Madrid, Hong Kong and Edinburgh before moving to America to focus on film and television.
Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence is a freelance writer and part-time staff member at Calvin College where she is the costume shop manager for Calvin Theatre Company. After receiving her BA in English and music performance from a state school in South Dakota, she attended Regent College (Vancouver) where she graduated with a masters degree in Christian studies in 2005. Her interests include food studies, literature, writing, theology, women’s studies, theatre arts, and several failed attempts at gardening. (But she keeps trying.)
Stephanie Sandberg (Ph.D. – California – Santa Barbara) is a professor at Calvin College who teaches Theatre History and Communication and is a director for the Calvin Theatre Company. While in University, Stephanie began working with the Lit Moon Theatre Company, an experimental company focused on the use of the human body to convey complex text and emotion using non-traditional training. She is especially noted for her work in using improvisation as a means for impacting social justice issues with a focus on managing boundaries and diversity in the workplace.
Teresa Thome is President of Enthusiastic Productions! where she also serves as Executive Producer of the Emmy Award-winning children’s show, “Come On Over“. Prior to her work at EP! she served as Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. She has directed more than twenty theatrical productions in and around West Michigan and was a member of the performance troop, Last Minute Improv for eight years. Thome is an active member in her community, currently serving on the boards of Actors’ Theatre and the Downtown Improvement District.