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1273

Review: Instant Theatre – Shakespeare After Dark! The Anniversary Show

Comedy, Culture, Events, Improv, Performance, Reviews, Showcase

June 19, 2017

With uproarious laughter and perfect comic timing, the audience was transfixed by what they saw. We had an audience with “The Bard” himself, Bartitsu and rapier fighting by Affair of Honor, an Elizabethan complements contest, an insult battle with pirate ships and pickle juice as the main insult components and Matheson the best drunk thespian they could summon.  Shakespeare After Dark is very close to being sorcery on its own, but they pull some serious magic Saturday night.  We can’t say this enough but this is absolutely some of the best improv you can see in the city.

Good and gentle bards soothed us with classic chamber music throughout the evening. Photo Credit Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Producer Chelsey Stuyt welcomes the audience and introduces us to the players. Photo Credit Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Joel Cottingham as William Shakespeare was our host! “I might call him / A thing divine, for nothing natural / I ever saw so noble.” – The Tempest Photo Credit Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

A packed house! Full of merry gentles! Photo Credit Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Affair of Honor showing us stunningly choreographed Bartitsu Photo Credit Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

A fair maiden receiving compliments Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

They were wooing her real good Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Pirates vs. Pickle Juice might foes in insults Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Affair of Honor and their endless rapier duel Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

It would be Shakespeare After Dark without a drunk actor. Matheson was our man of the evening. Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

“I’M A DRAGON” Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

A man armed with mead is as dangerous as a man armed with sword Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Like all good Shakespearean tragedies… There is a lot of death. Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Like … a lot of death… Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Did we mention there was death? Because there was. Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Standing Ovation! Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Chelsey bidding us a gentle night and merry revelry. Photo Credit By Peter Joseph for Living Myth Magazine

Our contest winners enjoying alcohol and snacks!

Congratulations Instant Theatre on a successful and hilarious Shakespeare After Dark!  If you want to catch their next show it will be at The Havana on July 22nd.

 

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317

Review: Instant Threatre – The LAB Presents The Cult

Comedy, Culture, Events, Improv, Performance, Reviews

June 15, 2017

Shawn Norman as The Cults leader

Welcome to the Family! The Cult is an improvised mockumentary featuring live interviews with ex-members and never-before-seen “footage” of life in a cult that we invent on the spot based on your suggestion! Just like a real cult, we’ll seduce you with all the good stuff: beautiful people, a charismatic (if narcissistic) leader, promises of secret knowledge and free love, and of course — all the sweet sweet Koolaid you can drink! The only difference is we’ll let you go home after…if you even want to.

With: Shawn Norman, Shane McLean, Julianne Hoyak, Kai Rudell, William Dunn, Janet Davidson, Geoff Walters, Julia Lank  Host/Filmmaker: Tia Glenn-Cooke

The brainchild of Tia Glenn-Cooke, The Cult brings forth the seedy underbelly of cults. Because this is improv the story is different every time… but the story of cults are usually the same. A charismatic leader, lies, deceit and of course the realisation that the leader is a monster. It is beautiful and if you ever have a chance to join the cult of THE CULT… drink the Kool-Aid.

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256

Preview: Shakespeare After Dark at The Rio

Uncategorized

June 14, 2017

We sat down with  Instant Theatre to talk about the upcoming show.

LMM: Can you give a brief history of Shakespear After Dark and how it came to be?

IT: It started as part of the young and spontaneous series. Every year Instant Theatre does a festival of experimental improv shows. This year it’s called the Prototype Festival. One of our co-director, Zach Wolfman, tested the concept of an improvised Shakespeare show then. This was three years ago. Last year, our Artistic Director at that time and our founder Alistair Cook, asked the cast to pitch late night show concepts. Zach pitched an improvised Shakespearean tragedy, our other co-director Chelsey Stuyt pitched a drunk improvised Shakespeare. Alistair put us together and the show was born!

LMM: What is it like working with Affair of Honor?

IT: An absolute pleasure. They are so precise and professional, yet creative and flexible. We couldn’t ask for a better opener. We love them!

LMM: What is the drunkest someone has ever gotten?

IT: We try not to focus on that as the tone of the show highlights the joy of seeing someone succeed at an impossible task, not laugh at someone in an out of control state. To that end, the person who got the drunkest never went on stage. They arrived at the theatre and were promptly taken home with a guardian to sleep it off. That said, we have a number of players who don’t remember what happened on stage! But we always ensure they have someone with them to get them home safe.
LMM: What are the weirdest/most interesting suggestions you have gotten from the audience?
IT: The weirdest is actually titles of plays or movies that already exist. There’s one guy who really wants to see the Shakespearean tragedy of Terminator 3.
LMM: What are you hoping people will feel after the anniversary show?
IT:  Uninhibited and inspired by Shakespeare. Our goal is to knock The Bard out of the ivory towers of academia and give him back to the people. No one should feel intimidated by old Billy Shakes. He’s crude, rude, and hilarious. We’re here to bring back the raucous energy that belongs in his works.
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If you don’t want to try your luck at the contest you can get event information and tickets here.

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458

Instant Theatre – A Fistful of Kicks: An Improvised Kung-Fu Spectacular

Comedy, Culture, Events, Improv, Reviews

May 27, 2017

“A long time ago, before East met West. When the modern world wasn’t so modern. In a far away land across the Pacific Ocean, there was one path, one way, one truth – kung-fu. A Fistful of Kicks is an improvised kung-fu spectacular starring an all Asian-Canadian cast of Vancouver’s best improvisers. Mashing up all of your favourite martial arts movies of yesteryear, this show will bring you all of the hard-hitting fight scenes together with our signature epic storytelling to tell these authentic and hilarious stories all for one amazing show. Filled with impressive stunts choreographed by local fight director, Nathania Bernabe, an amazing soundtrack, and a grand adventure, this is a unique and exhilarating improv show with a cultural twist.

Vivian Tang, Brent Hirose, Kai Rudell, Carla Mah, Curt Da Silva and Kia Vance

Featured comics include Curt Da Silva, Vivian Tang, Carla Mah, Brent Hirose, Nathania Bernabe, Kia Vance, and Kai Rudell.”

A Fistful of Kicks: An Improvised Kung-Fu Spectacular started off as part of Instant Theatre’s Incubator program. Curt Da Silva the show’s director/producer organized to have fights choreographed for the show by local fight coordinator Nathania Bernabe.  After having several successful shows it has been added to the monthly line up of shows that Instant puts on at The Havana. Representation matters and to have a show that honours Asian heritage in a city that has a population of 42.9% of Asian descent is not only important but vitally needed.

The story itself ended up being an epic much along the lines of most epic Eastern tales with trickster spirits, pupils and masters teacher each other, goddess empresses, family feuds and in the end a happy end. 

The next showing of this masterpiece is June 9th at The Havana. 

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612

Instant Theatre – Shakespeare After Dark – The Bard, Improvised and Twisted

Comedy, Events, Improv, Reviews

May 3, 2017

When I agreed to review this show, I thought that I would be seeing improvisers taking the premises of Shakespeare plays and then Mad-Lib style scene creation would happen… but wow and hoo-boy I didn’t see what I saw coming.

Mood Music

I arrived at The Havana early so I got a drink and a snack and hung out. As people started lining up for the show there was one guy who was incredibly boisterous and extra huggy with the people around him. Homeboy was drunk. A friend of mine was doing the doors for the show (we do a podcast together) and I mentioned that he was super drunk and she said… “Oh, have you not seen the show before? He is one of the improvisers, he is supposed to be drunk.” And there we have it good gentles a segue into a bonny tale.

Brad The Drunk is the best at being a railing.

As I entered the black box theatre at The Havana a guitarist was playing classical folk music to set the mood. Actors were milling about in peasant shirts. Then the show started.  Nikolai Witschl came on stage and introduced the show, which is two acts, one is a rehearsed piece from a Shakespearean play in which our drunk improviser is the main character and must remember while very drunk their lines including a monologue and the second is an improvised long form scene in the style of Shakespeare based on suggestions from the audience.

The first act was from All’s Well That Ends Well, following his father’s death, Bertram, the young Count of Rossillion, leaves home to attend the court of the ailing King of France, along with his friend Parolles. Helena, the Countess’s ward, is in love with Bertram, and reveals her affection to the Countess, who is sympathetic. The scene is from a trial.

Monologues are hard

Brad the Drunk (who was the inebriated improviser) was able successfully deliver his monologue and follow along with the scene but I am not sure that Shakespeare wrote in all of the extra swearing and long pauses into the scene. By the end of the scene, everyone in the audience was near tears because of the hilarity of the situation. I was so amazed at the performance that a wow slipped out of my mouth and without skipping a beat Brad The Drunk said, “You are correct, wow”.

The next act was the improvised scene, in which a tavern owner who was the former King of England works tirelessly to protect his daughter from finding out her royal line but also from having her meet and fall in love… which is exactly what happened, with a member of the royal court who is an adventurer. The adventurer and his sister met the local drunk who was named Bob.  There was also a plot to capture the Former King’s daughter and to sell back to her father for a price. All of this is 100% improvised. During this, Brad the Drunk was a ship’s rail and also as a parrot who would state the obvious. The conclusion of the story was the adventurer marrying the daughter of the Former King and Bob the Drunk marrying the adventurer’s sister.

Afterwards, I caught up with Brad the Drunk, he was all smile and very happy. His drink of choice was 375 ML of Bombay Sapphire and OJ between the hours 3pm and 10pm. Which, hopefully, was in a bottle that wasn’t recently recalled for being 77% alcohol.

It was a blast and something I think everyone will enjoy. You can catch the next installment of Shakespeare After Dark – The Bard, Improvised and Twisted, Saturday May 27th at The Havana.

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617

Instant Theatre – The Actor’s Nightmare

Comedy, Events, Improv, Reviews

April 21, 2017

At the Havana Restaurant on Commercial Drive there lies a small black box style theatre space hidden at the back. This is where you will find players from Instant Theatre strutting their stuff. On the third Saturday of every month is when Instant improvisers and five guest actors bring you The Actor’s Nightmare – Scripted Theatre and Improv Collide!

As the title suggests, an actor’s nightmare is not knowing their lines, or worst, not knowing what play they are even in. This is exactly what happens in Actor’s Nightmare. Each improviser is paired up with a guest actor who will act out their memorized scripted lines. The improviser then must react to the scripted lines and make a cohesive-ish act. The result is a series of unexpectedly hilarious one act plays.

 

Allie Entwistle doing audience warm ups

 

The night began with host Allie Entwistle introducing the show with an explanation of what to expect and some fairly standard improv audience warm ups. The first actor-improviser pair, Abbey St. Brendan and Janet Davidson were then invited onto the stage. Janet started with asking for audience suggestion of an object: a whisk. The scene began with Janet whisking a bowl of something (a cake!) and Abbey’s Mary Aldin burst in exclaiming something about a murder in the house. The ensuing entertaining chaos of trying to find out who was murdered, who was the murderer, and how Janet’s character became an inadvertent accomplice had the audience in endless laughter. After the act was over, Abbey revealed that her scripted part was from Agatha Christie’s Toward Zero.

 

Abbey and Janet discussing a murder and cake!

 

 

Next was an original piece by Bennett Taylor and improviser Trang Nguyen. Trang’s 12 year old farm girl entered the scene with bucket of milk from their old cow, Betsy, and presented it to her father (Bennett) while contemplated whether the boy from next farm over would take her to the dance. We come to learn that Father worked as a cashier at a restaurant, Bob’s Big Ol’ Steaks. Unfortunately, Betsy succumbed to some sort of ailment involving a ball which resulted in a field full of cow blood.

 

Bennet and Trang investigating Betsy’s illness

 

Third set of the evening was a dramatic observation of bird behaviour by Vuk Prodanovic and Maddy Rafter as Captain and Miss Pennywise. This short half-improvised act started on a submarine, with the Captain’s overreaction to Pa, his seagull friend’s antics, but later was revealed that Captain and Miss Pennywise were criminals on the run. Criminals with a heart, having a heart to heart. There was also a giant heart in the sky, or possibly crows…? Vuk’s scripted part was from Urinetown: The Musical.

 

The second to last pair was Ella Berger as Niki (Curtains) and Mark Sears. The scene took place during intermission of a high school play, Macbeth: The Musical. Mark’s character, a drama teacher named Frank Gower was texting when Niki, whom Mr. Gower embarrassingly misnamed Amber multiple times, barged onto the scene. Niki was reluctant to replace the lead actress who fell off the stage and injured herself as Lady Macbeth. Revelations of death threats and forbidden romances followed, as Mr. Gower was trying to get someone to carry the injured girl off the front rows.

 

Ella and Mark having a crisis during “intermission”

 

Lastly, Julie Casselman and our erstwhile host herself, Allie Entwistle. Allie was given the audience suggestion of “a rack of watermelons”, and thus, Jacob the Watermelon Merchant was born. As the scene progressed, we learn that Mary Snow (Julie), a kumquat seller, and Jacob were once engaged, but Mary promised herself to Jerome since Jacob ran away a year ago. Apparently Jerome was quite the mansplainer and told Mary all kinds of things, such as all the pretty names of the moon’s mountains and valleys, and that bald men are very potent. Yes, potent. There was also a dog ghost. The act ended with Mary sliding her engagement ring off and making suggestive eyebrow movements at Jacob. Julie’s excerpt is from Salt-Water Moon by David French.

 

Julie and Allie at the watermelon rack

 

All in all, The Actor’s Nightmare – Scripted Theatre and Improv Collide! was very entertaining and kept the audience in stitches, which is par of course for Instant Theatre improv shows. The scenes held up surprisingly well though it is not without a dash of chaos, but what’s improv without a healthy dose of entropy. I would highly recommend The Actor’s Nightmare if you are in the mood for some comedy on Saturday night.

The next showing of The Actor’s Nightmare – Scripted Theatre and Improv Collide! will be on May 20th at 10:30 PM, tickets available here.

 


Eva Mak is a local producer, artist and lady about town. You can tweet at her @originalevamak 

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654

Instant Theatre – Outer Middle Zone

Improv, Reviews

March 10, 2017

Vancouver is an improv town, boasting several improv theaters that teach and mold gaggles of improv artists each year. The most innovative and prolific is the Instant Theatre Company. Their show lineup is eclectic but well thought-out, ranging from themed performances to all out free-for-alls, where you can see the talents of the many troops that are forming or have coalesced via their school.

One of the most unique shows to come out of the Instant Theatre is The Outer Middle Zone. “Behind this dark curtain lies another dimension – a dimension of late night science fiction theater inspired by The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. A dimension where some of Vancouver’s top improvisers bring you astonishing tales from the border of the everyday and the uncanny. The dimension we call… the Outer-Middle Zone! Cast members Nikolai Witschl, Brad Duffy, Travis Bernhardt, Chelsey Stuyt, and Max Tennessen spin stories filled with unexpected twists and macabre turns, all made up on the spot based on your suggestions. Get all the chills, suspense, hilarity, and surprises your all-too-human brain can handle at Instant Theatre’s late night science fiction triple feature!”

The stories spun that night were eerie and delightful, the story of a man who swindled his way into a more modern hell, a white room without a means of escape and with no one to entertain him; a man stranded on an island, reliving the terror of interacting with the ghosts of a family he was marooned with; and the terror of being forced to battle for space on the last rocket ship, leaving Earth before the ever-increasing gravity imploded the planet and everything and everyone on it.

I have seen a lot of improv and it can be hit-or-miss, but Instant Theatre proved to be more of the former and none of the latter. There were moments watching this that I felt slightly terrified and touched by emotions that were honest but not pleasant, though in a good way.

The actors faithfully and lovingly capture the tension and fear that was North America in the middle of The Cold War. Skillful and clever, they were able to evoke the cheesy camp of early TV commercials for products that no one would want, the dryness of a newscast of that era all while battling through suggestions that would flub up those less skilled.

Instant Theatre is a gem and the future of improv in this town. If you ever get a chance to go to a show, please do: you will not be disappointed and if you feel the urge to hone your improv or comedy craft they would be happy to teach you. Visit http://instanttheatre.com/ for their show and class schedule.

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1240

The Fictionals – Five Year Anniversary

Culture, Lifestyle

November 11, 2015

Ladies and Germs… for those of you living in Vancouver who have never been to see Improv Against Humanity, you’re missing out on one of the joys of life.

Improv Against Humanity, or IAH for those in the know, was created by the improv group the Fictionals. The Fictionals started out with Show Us Your Wits, which was an improv and burlesque mashup hosted by the former Mermaid Cafe. Since then they have expanded to a cast of 12 players, and perform regularly at Cafe Deux Soleils and, of course, at the Rio Theatre. IAH is by no means for the faint of heart – if you are easily offended by, well, *anything*, you will definitely want to give this show a pass. But if you’re the type to experience a hearty belly laugh at the idea of watching a scene inspired by two midgets $#!^ing in a bucket, then this is the show for you!

The Fictionals Comedy Co.

And who can believe that the Fictionals have been around for FIVE YEARS? Happy Birthday, Fictionals! To celebrate, you should join us at their 5th Anniversary celebration – they’re bringing cake! Mmmm… cake.

IAH Five Year Anniversary Poster

If you plan to attend, I highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance. It is almost always a sell-out show, so those who buy tickets the night of are often left disappointed. And remember that if you arrange for will-call tickets, you MUST be there by 7:30 or else the tickets are released back into the wild.

See you there…

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1154

The Superhero Show!

Reviews

October 11, 2014

This past Thursday saw the official gala premiere of Vancouver Theatresports League’s latest mainstage show, The Superhero Show. Each night, the cast (or Su-performers) create a full length episode of a comic-book show that never existed, with inspiration taken from the audience’s suggestions. (more…)

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1413

Orange Is The New Blank – Vancouver Fringe Festival 2014

Reviews

September 8, 2014

From the minds of the comedy duo Virginia Jack comes this wholly improvised tale of women in prison. Or tales, rather, as each night the audiences will be getting an entirely different show. Each of the prisoners in Orange Is The New Blank get a quick piece of inspiration suggested by the crowd, be it an emotion, an object, a favorite book and then a title for that night’s “episode”. At that point, the cast dive in and tell a full-length story about the ladies behind bars. (more…)

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