Meet the Woman Behind an Entirely Improv Bachelorette Parody

What’s better than sitting at home with a glass of wine watching two straight hours of The Bachelorette? Sitting in a theatre (also with wine) watching a live parody of it, obv! We chatted with Sarah Szloboda—a.k.a. the Bachelorette behind the Toronto-based Bad Dog Theatre’s The One—about the play we’ve all been waiting for

If the most recent dramz-filled season of The Bachelorette and the kickoff of the third (already v. crazy) season of Bachelor in Paradise isn’t enough to feed your addiction, we’ve got another Bach-related title to add to the list: The One. This Thursday, Toronto’s Bad Dog Theatre is putting on a parody of The Bachelorette as part of their Summer Blockbuster Week. Produced and directed by Nicole Passmore, the play will recreate all the basic fundamentals of The Bachelorette—including cocktail parties, rose ceremonies, one-on-ones, two-on-ones and group dates, ‘Previously On’ and ‘Coming Up This Season’ vignettes, and even blooper scenes!

Improv pro Sarah Szloboda—who, we must say, bears more than a slight resemblance to former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman—stars as Bachelorette in The One; we called her up to chat all about the play and her own love-hate relationship with Bachelor Nation.

The Bachelorette Parody

As committed fans of The Bachelor franchise we love the idea of this play—so tell us a little bit about The One.

It’s entirely improvised and improv shows work super well when there’s a suggestion of a place and some characters, and that’s kind of what The Bachelorette already does. You’ve got these crazy characters in a strange and romantic location, and then natural drama that always happens—it’s the perfect formula for an improv show.

You say the play is entirely improvised, but will you incorporate some of the main elements of The Bachelorette?

Yeah definitely, so there’s a structure to it in that sense. There’s no script or anything like that—one thing that is going to be scripted is all the guys who are in the show are actually going to be reading direct bios of random contestants from past seasons and that will inspire their characters. And then the audience will help set the romantic locations for the the cocktail party, the one-on-one dates and the rose ceremonies. So it’s definitely got these standard elements from the show but what happens during those dates or what happens at those cocktail parties are entirely up to whatever happens based on the characters and the location.

So do you or the guys have any idea who those past contestants will be that they’ll be reading the bios from, or is it just totally random?

It’s totally random. In the start of the show the host (played by Talal Itani) is going to be surprising the performers with their bios as they come out for their intros. So when he reads out the bio that’s the first time the performers are going to hear them as well.

Will the play mimic an entire season of The Bachelorette, from the first night all the way to the proposal at the end? 

Yeah totally, it’s a little bit of an expedited season if you think about it that way. There will be one sort of formal rose ceremony and that will be the final one, but there’s going to be some group dates with a few of the guys, and a two-on-one, and a one-on-one. So it’ll be basically all these things that you know from a season all kind of expedited into one jam-packed show.

A main goal of the play is obviously to poke fun at The Bachelorette—do you predict the audience will mostly be Bachelor/ette superfans who are just there for a good laugh, or do you think there will be some haters of the show coming to actually make fun of it?

I think it’s kind of a combo. I assume a lot of people are like my friends and me—you love to hate it. There’s a little bit of me that feels bad for these people because you know that when you combine these big personalities and alcohol and these crazy situations, drama is naturally going to happen. And some of the ways they edit it, the things the producers probably do to get some of those sound bites are so comedic. I find myself laughing and booing the show so I feel like there will be a bit of that with the improv—they’ll end up hating some of the characters, somebody will end up being a villain naturally, somebody will be the one that you want to win the Bachelorette’s heart. So I think even comedians, even the most cynical people I know seem to have a love-hate and cant-help-but-watch relationship with the show.

So clearly you’re a watcher of the show—what’s your personal opinion on it?

I think that everybody is looking for love, that’s sort of the fundamental core of a lot of us. The show does a really great job of putting people in their most vulnerable and most agitated states. And on a personal level I feel bad sometimes getting such a kick out of seeing these people struggle, but I can’t help but just love it. You also kind of anticipate that none of the relationships will ever stay together but still somehow you hope that this is the one that will give you hope in your own life. But I would never be on it myself.

So you’re playing the role of the Bachelorette—are you planning on acting like any specific Bachelorettes from past seasons or is it just going to be a general portrayal?

I think the goal in part of this show is to just let the situation speak for itself. I’m naturally a bit cynical so I think that’ll probably play into the type of Bachelorette I am. But if one of the guys seems to just woo me, who knows [laughs].

Is there one specific scene that you’re most excited to improvise?

I’m looking forward to the two-on-one. They always have the highest stakes because the guys know that one of them is probably going home at the end of it. And it’s probably testing the two guys that hate each other the most because that’s how the producers always set it up, so naturally there’s going to be drama. Plus it’s always nice to have two guys paying attention to you.

So how many seasons of The Bachelorette did you have to go back and watch to prepare yourself for the role?

[Laughs]. I didn’t go back and watch them, I just wrapped up the last one and I feel like it’s sadly kind of on a loop. But I feel prepared, I feel like I’ve got a lifetime worth of watching to prepare me for this.

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