For King and Country – Vimy Ridge Day at SoCap

Tonight, I’m producing an improv show which brings together my love of improvisation as well as my passion for World War One history. For those of you who did not know me before moving to France, I was once (or twice, or four times) a Tour Guide at the Vimy National Canadian War Memorial, in France.

The whole experience had an extremely profound impact on my life and today, on the 98th Anniversary of the Four Canadian Divisions storming the ridge, all together in formation for the first time in our history, I and several of my hilarious colleagues, will be presenting:

WWIMprov

All funds raised will be going to the Vimy Foundation and Wounded Warriors Canada.

It’s a worthy cause, so…

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State of Play

As you may have gathered from the last late-night post reflecting my predictions of the inevitable discovery of my colleague’s talent by Hollywood or what have you, and the subsequent benefits of that association/friendship I shall reap, her play went rather well.  As did all performances Wednesday and Thursday nights.  Thus, our second year “Ten Minute Play Festival” and most of ours’ first attempt at play-writing comes to successful completion.

There were some neat ones, some serious ones, some non-verbal ones and it was always fun throughout to ask “which one of my colleagues wrote this one?” and to be pleasantly surprised at the answer.

Anyone who knows of my history as a tour guide at Vimy Ridge would not be surprised to discover I was the playwright of “the one about the WW1 brothel.”  It turned out well!  It was serious against a backdrop of ridiculousness; drunken and horny soldiers, Brandon in drag as the “Madame” of the establishment, Ron successfully pulling off a full “under the slip” boob grope to an unsurprised and perfectly-deadpan French whore, Ashley.  And my two leads, Kyle & Paige, keeping the romance and escape plan serious and honest while all this other nonsense is going around them.

It’s so rewarding to see the words you’d written and rewritten and rewritten performed on stage with the help of a seasoned director who can make your vision appear, and extracting emotional responses you hadn’t even considered in the writing process. There’s also some interesting feeling about seeing the actors work hard at memorizing their lines and becoming these characters; putting in the effort so that they too, can make your vision a reality.

I hope I was able to do that for the two roles for which I was cast – one as a middle-aged strict Russian dance teacher, propositioned by two jocks who just really need to pass their ballet exam to make the football team, at whatever cost. 😉 – and Gracie, the teen dog who’s getting too old to play pretend with her dog-brother and her human mother who wants nothing more but to create the most beautiful Dog Wedding in history.

Whether it was that or Romeo learning to appreciate his wing-man, or an English teacher getting his funk back. Getting past  St. Peter into Heaven or curing his son from his own online game persona.  Buttoning down and finally applying for that first job at No Frills, or  watching the Tooth Fairy struggle to get the job done…it sure was nifty to see the talent and creativity of my colleagues’ brainboxes come to life.

Bravo, all!

OctUpdate!

Holy Crap.  I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since the Moneyball review.  I have been BUSY, ladies and gentlemen!  Time feels like it keeps speeding up.  I’ve been completing assignments the day before they’re due, staying up past midnight, despite having to work super-early in the morning at the Career Centre.

 

It seems in each class, we’re working on major projects.  There isn’t really one in which we’re working less hard than the other. It’s crazy!  The workload is by vastly greater than last year, but folks, I am loving it.

I’m working on a chauvinist male “bro” character called Brian for my Acting class.  It’s both liberating and challenging to portray the type of male I absolutely despise.

I’ve written and submitted the first draft of a 10-minute play (more dramatic than comedic) play about a soldier of the First World War who visits a French brothel.   Apparently, I’m feeling very nostalgic about my time spent in France.  Like it or not, talking about hundreds of thousands of dead guys for 5 months straight two years in a row really gets into your head.

We’ve completed our clown pieces in physical comedy and are now moving onto different techniques.

In sketch writing,  we’ve been working on two major projects: a parody of a TV show (I chose Star Trek, obvi) and a monologue script based on a person we know upon which we’ll be building characters.

In stand-up, Larry’s teaching us what it would be like to work in a writing room, working on a late-nite host’s monologue.  The humour is very topical, news-related, so it’s been helping us with the LaughDraft news as well (which we will be filming this week after a long hiatus!)

Finally, we’re working on writing a sit-com.  I won’t reveal too much about that at the moment, in case anyone reading this blog decides to steal my class’ ideas and prevent us from ever working on this project in the ‘real world.’

And then there’s all the ‘outside school’ stuff… and work…

Life is crazy!!!

…Just the way I like it.