This blog is a storehouse for information about Jill Bernard's award-winning solo improv show "Drum Machine." Please visit for the most up-to-date information on Jill.

Would you like to watch an example?

Would you like to see a little 3 Minute Egg piece about it?

another copy of the logo
Some pictures of the show: click here!
A high resolution action shot, copyright Jen Scott: click here!

Drum Machine is Jill Bernard's one-person unscripted muscial featuring multiple characters in scenes, monologues and songs accompanied by a drum machine or in collaboration with a musician whenever possible. Typically the show opens by interviewing a member of the audience, and weaving details of their life into a historical period suggested by the audience.

Read what people are saying about Jill Bernard's solo improv show "Drum Machine":

"Drum Machine is an improv event unlike any other. Miss Bernard redefines herstory with guile, giddiness and grace. Educational and inspirational. Let the rhythm move you!"
-Eric Hart
The As Is Syndicate Theatre Company
Toronto, ON

"Jill Bernard's Drum Machine meshes history and modern culture into a wild, anachronistic rock opera. Drum Machine demonstrates what improvisational theater can be when a creative person pushes it to its limits. Bernard earned standing ovations from our audiences and left us all truly impressed."

-Eric Caldwell
Morally Improv-erished
Juneau, AK

"It’s hard to tell what is more wonderful, Jill Bernard’s entertaining and innovative one-woman show “Drum Machine” or the fantastic and hilarious performance abilities of the internationally renowned improv artist Ms. Bernard herself. This original show begins with an audience participation segment that gets even the most hard to please audience clapping and singing along with both Jill Bernard and her electronic drum machine. Then, Jill gets from the audience a historical time period to create the rest of the show from. Having seen her one-woman show several times, in different cities and countries, part of what makes Jill’s show so amazing is that I’ve never seen her stumped by any time period that an audience can throw at her. From her vast knowledge of history, Jill creates several indelible characters, a multi-threaded storyline, original songs, all the while throwing in great period details that the audience forgot it knew until Jill performs it. By the end of the show, the audience has been happily taken on a phantasmagorical journey that always ends joyfully. Over the course of 45 minutes, Jill entertains, informs, and moves the audience all in her delightful way that comes from her unique sensibilities of the very talented and experienced Minneapolis based improv artist. Over the last two years, I’ve been proud to present Jill’s Drum Machine as part of CIF’s Solo category and watched as both times she stole the show. Jill is professional and easy to work with and I heartily recommend both her and her show."

-Jonathan Pitts,
Executive Director, Chicago Improv Festival

"I had the opportunity to see Drum Machine at the Toronto Improv Festival while performing my own one woman show FLaKE.

Ms. Bernard takes one person improv comedy to a new level. With a mixture of audience participation and the simple accompainment of a electronic Drum Machine...Ms. Bernard weaves story and music efortlessly. It was an incredible show to watch full of laughs! A true audience favorite. And a true innovation in improvisational one person performance."

-Shaun Landry
San Francisco Improv Festival
San Francisco, CA

"Jill Bernard's Drum Machine is a perfect peice of theatre. Ms.
Bernard's improvisation skills and adeptness for story-telling are
matched only by her razor sharp with and ability to charm an audience"

-Jan Caruana
Joey Poon
Bad Dog Theatre Company

Jill Bernard's "DRUM MACHINE" is the plum in our Female Funnyfest's Pudding. Just when a week of performances by brilliant, funny women feels like it couldn't get any
better, the divine Ms. Bernard flys into Philadelphia, graces our stage and destroys any preconcieved notions about what is possible in terms of improv, music, funny
and female. Our local NBC station here says "Jill Bernard IS an improvised musical comedy," and she sure is. And so much more. Our only problem with Jill is we can't get enough of her and we can't convince her to move here!!

-Karen Getz, Kelly Jennings
Co-Producers, Philadelphia's Annual Female Funnyfest

"Watching Jill Bernard take the stage is unavoidable. She is punk and charm rolled up in a tortilla of charisma. Jill takes the audience with her on a thrashing, beat driven journey through her own imagination and insanity."

- Jesse Parent
Jesse Parent
Salt Lake City, UT

"Jill Bernard is one of those rare performers that ignites everyone in the room. She is magnetic with endless talent and humour. I took her workshop last year and can't remember when I've had so much fun. Jill is a brilliant artist that will take you beyond your preconcieved boundaries."
Madi Distefano
Barrymore Award Nominated Actress and Playwright
Philadephia, PA

A blog entry from Ross White, acclaimed North Carolinian improvisor

Here's what the press says about Jill Bernard

Philadelphia City Paper Pick
Kristen Humbert, Oct 14, 2009:

When improv comedian Jill Bernard first practiced her show Drum Machine, she did so by herself in bed, giggling. When she debuted it in person, she giggled even more. "I was supposed to do it for 15 minutes," she says. "I did it for five and said, 'Thank you and good night!' and ran off stage." For good reason: Bernard's seven-year-old show, in which she accompanies herself on a blue plastic drum machine, is goofy as hell. Taking both a period of history and an element of someone's life from the audience, Bernard sings and acts her way through odd comedic combinations. A past show paired "the wild West" with "traveling from Baltimore," which resulted in a spirit quest for shellfish, a sweat-lodge love affair with an American Indian valley girl, and the mushroom-induced hallucinations of a horse-turned-Cher. If that's what comes from the suggestion "Baltimore," just imagine what the word "Philly" could conjure.

Austin Decider Article by Erik Adams 5/8/2009:,27639/

the review!

"Bernard’s show is anything but mechanical, incorporating details of a single audience member’s life into an organic tapestry that combines rich characters, warm humor, historical elements and music, with the titular contraption providing the beats. The results are as quirky as Bernard herself."
- Bret Love
Stage Directions Magazine February 2008

St. Paul Pioneer Press 7/10/05 feature article by Matt Peiken: (must register). Quotes:
"It's a Wednesday night, and Bernard is dressed for work — punker-shaved black hair festooned with magenta bangs and sprouts, black shirt fronted by a British flag, black lip- and eyeliner, black hose and a Catholic-school plaid skirt designed to show more cheek than chastity.

Bernard, who turns 33 later this month, promises this is the last Twin Cities performance she is giving, ever, of what must rank among the bravest and most captivating solo shows concocted for a local stage.

"Drum Machine" stars Bernard and the Zoom RhythmTrak 123, an electronic machine loaded with a few hundred drumbeats, bass lines and generic songs.

Each unscripted performance starts with Bernard coaxing words or phrases from her audience to serve as seeds of inspiration. She then asks someone in the audience for a number — between 70 and whatever, to steer clear of the audience-popular 69 — and dials up that numbered beat on the RhythmTrak. She keys the tempo up or down and, from there, wings it. Bernard develops characters and storylines and songs, all on the fly, unfolding into a manic musical."
"The first suggestions tossed up are "Keep it simple" and "People with problems," along with a number Bernard buttons into her RhythmTrak. The machine serves up a midtempo, hip-hopped beat. Bernard closes her eyes and grooves into her own world for a moment, then reverses the sentences and cues each half of the audience to rap, coming up with the sentence "People with problems keep it simple."

Soon, Bernard slowly spins a story about an 85-year-old woman who uses a wheelchair only for the fun of it and is planning to spend her Christmas shopping out of a catalog, punctuating her breaks with little growls and audience raps. Other suggestions inspire her to construct a romantic musical, featuring flashbacks, between Abbie Hoffman and the attorney prosecuting him for crashing the Democratic National Convention."

Time Out Chicago June 5, 2008
"Drum Machine Jill Bernard performs solo, unless you count a Zoom RhymeTrak 123 as a scene partner. The Minneapolis native, who’s traveled all over the country with Drum Machine, accompanies monologues and songs with the phat beats of the namesake device. The show’s stylin’, even if Bernard’s mismatched wardrobe suggests otherwise."

Juneau Empire feature article:

“Jill Bernard is an improvised musical comedy,” - NBC 10 morning show, Philadelphia, 11/5/04

“Bernard performs with her hair tied up in two little buns on top of her head, a Minnie-meets-Princess-Leia effect. During a performance, it becomes apparent that they mask little antennae which channel energy like the electrified cables on a bumper car.” - Anne Ursu, City Pages, 10/14/98

“‘Ibsen was being metaphorical,’ the program reads. ‘We're not.’ And therein lies the explanation for one of the most delightful and peculiar features in the Fringe--a staged reading of Ibsen's overwrought one-act of gender liberation, mounted in a tiny, four-foot-by-four-foot cubby at the back of the Acadia's basement. It's a playing area so small that actors must double over to stand and must necessarily step on and push past each other simply to move. This renders lines such as ‘I've been struggling under the most restrictive circumstances,’ hilariously literal. Director Jill Bernard has discovered a gimmicky and ingenious way to illuminate some of the desperation and panic in the text.” – Max Sparber, City Pages, 8/2/00

"Funniest gal in town!" - Dean Seal, Skyway News, 1/28/02

“In one sketch written by Bernard, two women who share an identical name, identical threadbare sweaters, and an identical adenoidal voice, show up to the same date with Joseph Scrimshaw. (The pseudo twins are played by Bernard and dancer Adrienne English, who is Joseph Scrimshaw's wife). They bring with them an unopened envelope, addressed to a third woman of the same name, inviting her out to dinner. As long as the envelope remains unopened, they argue, Joseph Scrimshaw has invited not only one of the three out to dinner, but all three at the same time. And when Scrimshaw, in a frustrated rage, tears open the envelope, the two women howl simultaneously that he has disrupted the universe, and begin to spin around each other as though the universe were, indeed, collapsing in on itself. The name of the sketch is "Schroedinger's Date," based on physicist's Erwin Schroedinger's somewhat obtuse paradox of quantum mechanics, involving a cat, a closed steel box containing a radioactive substance that might trigger some murderous device, and the (im)possibility that the cat might be at once dead and alive. This is not exactly sketch comedy that shoots for the lowest common denominator, despite the frequent presence of rubber chickens.” - Max Sparber, City Pages, 2/21/01

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]