Improvaganza 2011: #yegimprov

Do social media and improv go together? We’re going to find out on Monday evening! That’s when Rapid Fire Theatre is holding #yegimprov, a live social media experiment at Improvaganza 2011. This is the 11th year of Improvaganza, Canada’s largest improv festival. Tonight is the opening night gala and the festival, which takes place at the Varscona Theatre in Old Strathcona, runs through June 25.

Last month I got connected with Kory Mathewson and Amy Shostak to chat about social media. They were interested in ways that Improvaganza might be able to utilize new tools and technologies like Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare. As someone who has been talking about the changing artist/patron relationship, I was more than happy to get involved. I had so much fun just brainstorming ideas with Amy that I can’t wait to see how Monday night unfolds! Knowing that we’d need some funny social media participants on stage, I convinced Jerry and Adam to get on board. Actually they didn’t need much convincing, they were game right from the start!

So what can you expect at #yegimprov? I’m not entirely sure (that’s part of the fun). Definitely some tweeting, and definitely lots of laughter. In addition to the gang from Rapid Fire Theatre (@theatresports) the event will feature:

Even if you can’t actually make it to the event, I hope you’ll participate on Twitter using the #yegimprov hashtag. There should be some fun audience participation! #yegimprov runs from 7:30pm to 9:30pm (get your tickets here), and there will be an after party at The Next Act (@NextActPub).

You can check out the full Improvaganza 2011 schedule here and you can buy tickets for Improvaganza 2011 here. You can also check out the full schedule on ShareEdmonton, where you can download an iCal.

Hope to see you on Monday evening!

Die-Nasty Season 16 Finale with Georges Laraque!

Post ImageLast night Sharon and I went to see the season sixteen finale of Die-Nasty at the Varscona. I had never been to one of their improv shows before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that Edmonton’s own Georges Laraque was guest starring though, so I was definitely excited. Before I get to the show, here’s a bit of background on Die-Nasty itself:

Die-Nasty is a live improvised soap opera, running weekly in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada since 1991. Die-Nasty’s improv comedy format features a continuing storyline and recurring characters, live music, and a director who sets up scenes for the audience (and performers) in voiceover.

For last night’s finale, the focus was on the Stanleycubric Cup final between the Edmonton Die-Hards and the Montreal Canadiens. Dwayne “the Good One” Minsky (played by Matt Alden) led the Die-Hards to the finals but had switched sides to the Canadiens. Thus, the Die-Hards were in need of a new hero – which is where #69 Wellen Dowed came in, played by Georges Laraque. As you can imagine, there was lots of material for the actors to work with!

Georges did an excellent job last night (maybe he has a future in Hollywood). I think he was in every second scene! Much of the humor came from the actors admiring the size of Georges and his hands and, um, other parts. He held his own though! He almost broke the stage in one scene, when he started cheering after having scored a goal. I expected nothing less from Georges, who you’ll recall, was quite fond of slamming the glass at Rexall Place after a goal.

Here are some memorable quotes from last night:

“I haven’t played a single game all year. This is bullshit!”
– Georges Laraque’s opening line

“I have a million dollar tool, that’s why I built the shed.”
– Donovan Workun as Hogey Oogachakka, responding to a comment about his weight

“And the hockey has started. The ice is icy! The sticks are sticky! And the puck is black.”
– Ron Pederson as the new announcer for the Die-Hards

“Where the fuck were all of you the rest of the season!”
– Jeff Haslam as Derrick Capilano at the start of the show (no doubt a dig at the audience…it was a packed house, probably because of Georges)

In one scene Georges made a dig at MacT, but I don’t recall exactly what he said. It was pretty funny though!

I really like actors Jeff Haslam and Mark Meer, so I was happy they were there. Sharon remarked that Jeff’s shirt seems to get tighter every time we see him, and that Mark is superb at accents. Both are absolutely true! The only negative thing about last night’s show was that actress Davina Stewart wasn’t present.

If you want to see Die-Nasty, they’ll be at the Fringe this summer. There’s a “soap-a-thon” coming up soon too, but I’m not sure when that is. And keep an eye out for Georges – maybe he’ll become an actor!

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