How I Started Doing Improv?

One question that I hear quite often after a performance is How and When I started doing improvisation. I was surprised to find the story published in a 2008 article titled “Drawing Back the Curtain: Jewish Theatre on the Edmonton Stage“, written by the extremely talented Laura Nichol. Timely, in that only a month ago me and Michele Miller were teaching improvisation together at the Slow Flash Mob event put on by Rapid Fire Theatre’s Amy Shostak. I don’t think that I ever saw this article in print, but I am happy to have stumbled across it again 5 years later. Today, it serves as a memory, that where you are is a result of those that helped you get there. Thanks Shecky.

2013 Edmonton Fringe Festival Review Aggregation and Stats

Halfway through the first weekend of Fringe and the reviews are coming in full steam. The Review Aggregator is doing a great job at helping you find the shows with the top reviews across the board, from the Edmonton Journal, the Edmonton Sun, VUE Weekly and several reviews from Global. Are there other sources of reviews? Just let me know and I will add them to the aggregator.

Stats of the Moment:

Total shows in the 2013 Edmonton Fringe Festival: 216
Total shows reviewed: 103
Total number of reviews written: 213
Total Edmonton Journal: 58 | Average Score: 3.33
Total Edmonton Sun: 18 | Average Score: 3.47
Total VUE Weekly: 70 | Average Score 2.91

Most sparkling review: Countries Shaped Like Stars by VUE Weekly
Least sparkling review: The GREAT Decline of the Hollywood Empire by The Edmonton Journal

2013 Fringe Festival
Photo by Sangudo from Flickr

There are consistently several people viewing the Google Doc, which is great, hard to get some statistics on that… any ideas?

Edmonton Fringe Festival 2013 Review Aggregator

After taking 2012 off, the Edmonton Fringe Festival Review Incredible Aggregation Machine is back for 2013. By combining the review scores across the board, from all sources, in one concise, sortable table, finding a great show at the Edmonton Fringe Festival has never been easier.

You can check out the skeleton table here for now, publicly hosted on my Google Docs. Currently it lists all the 214 shows from this years fringe, with a link to the details of that show on the official Fringe website.

Some interesting enhancements that I was interested in implementing this year were a way to track media hits of a show… an aggregated publicity score… not sure exactly how to do this, but if you have an idea … leave a comment below…

Updates to come as the reviews start flooding in. VUE Weekly, under the management of the impenetrable Paul Blinov will most likely get a review of all 214 shows out in the first weekend…

Update 1: Thursday August, 15, 2013 … the reviews start coming in from The Edmonton Journal and The Edmonton Sun. Check out the status of THE AGGREGATOR!

Not sure if there are other sources reviewing this year… does anyone know? Is GigCity going to collect some star reviewers and assign some quantitative metrics to Edmonton Fringe Festival performances?

Of course, shameless plug, I myself am in two Fringe Festival shows this year. My breakout performance in a completely improvised, different every show, musical called Off Book the Musical. As well, I will most likely be reprising my role as Nurse Alan Doctors at the live improvised soap opera Die-Nasty at the Fringe.

My Favorite Street Art

The Art of Liverpool

I find Liverpool, a small city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, United Kingdom along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary, to be an incredible city. It is filled with such a vibrancy for arts and culture. I recently, Apr 2-8, had the opportunity to travel to Liverpool for the Impropriety 2013 Improvathon: Goin’ West, the entirety of which was liveblogged by the hilarious Doctor Captain, and illustrated and interpreted by the amazingly talented Jazamin Sinclair.

Thank you to all the amazing friends in Liverpool, and London, for your hospitality. I look forward to seeing you again soon, when you all come to Edmonton for the Die Nasty Soapathon!


Improvisation in Vancouver

April 25 – April 29 was spent in Vancouver, British Columbia. I had an amazing trip, met some interesting new folks, and of course spent time with some of the best improvisors I know. There is a thirst, and a passion for improv, and creating performance art, in Vancouver, that I so wish for in Edmonton.

The intimacy, and sincerity of Thursday’s nights Ghost Jail, to two Friday night shows at a packed Vancouver Theatresports League on Granville Island, to Saturday’s Rapp Battlez, and Sunday’s quaint hot as fire Sunday Service show.

To think that I was in the city for 4 nights, and was in 5 shows, is mind boggling to me. As I usually get 2, maybe 3, maximum in Edmonton, with Rapid Fire Theatre and Die Nasty. Not to mention that the community is filled with wonderful people who will make you dinner, on a BBQ Debut.

As always, it is a treat Vancouver, I can’t wait to be in you. Thank you to everyone who I saw, and sorry to everyone who I did not see… come party in Edmonton, I will be here, with the snow.



Rapid Fire Theatre Level 4 Workshop

What a wonderful workshop series I shared over the last four Sunday’s with such talented improvisors, in teaching Level 4 Improv: Introduction to Long Form, with Rapid Fire Theatre. It is a true inspirational to work with such free minded talent. The uninhibited work, in the progression of improvisational skills, performed by these student’s continues to impress me, and remind me, that the truest improv comes from a place of honesty, fun AND challenge. We should never shy away from trying something new, from moving outside of our comfort zone, and exploring what we are afraid of.

With that in mind, we worked on two huge topics: Riding the Audience’s Laugh Crescendo by Riffing and Hitting Runs on the Bits and Singing in Improv. As Level 4 is a long-form centric workshop. We are exploring these topics in the context of a great improv long form. We had an absolute blast working on finding the collective fun, and ruthlessly exploring every angle of a joke, or character, or reaction, or emotion. Then, the incredibly talented Joel Crichton came in and accompanied on the piano. I must say, I was sincerely impressed by the talent, and the ability to immediately jump in and perform, of the students in the class.

As with all the Workshop Students with Rapid Fire Theatre these days, they will have a chance to perform on stage, all the wonderful lessons they have learned: THE WORKSHOP GRADUATION SHOW is Thursday March 28.

With such a pool of talented improvisors, there is discussion about extending the workshop series to include a potential RFT ensemble group, which would be more intense and demanding, but also provide more development, production, and training experience… Interested to see how that discussion will progress.

Photos by the amazing Kyle Mathewson