An improv tribute to Canada

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‘Oh, Canada’ play review

By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist




The 150th anniversary of Confederation is a time for us to celebrate the long and interesting history of the country—such as with the play Oh, Canada.

Canada invented a lot of things and contributed much to the rest of the world. We invented insulin, multiplexes, and poutine; a lot of Canadian musicians are famous around the world; and we contributed many things to comedy with our famous comedians, Saturday Night Live, and especially Whose Line is it Anyway? Two of the people from Whose Line is it Anyway?, Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles, began their careers in the Vancouver TheatreSports League, and to celebrate Canada 150 they have created a show about Canada.

Oh, Canada pays tribute to the true north strong and free and references everything in Canadian culture. Watch as a scout guides you on a tour of Canada and teaches you about the country through improv games. As with every performance in the Vancouver TheatreSports League, each show is different because everything is done on the spot.

In the opening night performance, Brad Rossington played a scout who is probably the friendliest Canadian that you’ve ever seen. He then introduced a group of “Canadians” including Ken Lawson, Graeme Duffy, Margret Nyfors, Lauren McGibbon, Pearce Visser, and Devin Mackenzie, who were involved in the improv games played throughout the show. The “Canadians” were dressed like the person in the famous Molson Canadian “I Am Canadian” commercial.

Next, Rossington asked me what is Canada proud for and on the spot, I responded with Tim Hortons. The players said various things related to Tim Hortons and I was laughing when Duffy said that he was born in the same hospital that Tim Horton passed away in. This led to them re-enacting the famous Molson Canadian commercial. After that, we in the audience thought that we were going to sing our national anthem, but instead they accidently played a Nickelback song, and this happened again midway into the show.

There was a game where the players had to do a scene three times in three Canadian cities, and so they showed fishing in Vancouver, a Newfoundland city, and Saskatoon. The scene in Vancouver was the longest and the scene in Saskatoon was the shortest because there are not a lot of fish in that city.

The cast also did a game where when Rossington said “Shatner,” they talked and moved like William Shatner. While all their impersonations of William Shatner were great, Lawson’s was especially good. In addition, the play paid homage to Canadian institutions, including Historica’s Heritage Minutes with the stories of eye drops and the EpiPen, and Hinterland Who’s Who explaining the successful architect.

During the intermission, the audience put what they liked about Canada in a bowl, and Rossington read some of them for the “Canadians” to act out. The play even showed the story of a couple from two countries that met in Canada and the couple told the cast if they were telling their story correctly.

The show was very funny and I was laughing a lot during the entire thing, and you have to thank the country’s history for providing the material for it. So, if you’d like to learn about Canada in an improvised way, go see Oh, Canada. Oh, Canada is now playing in The Improv Centre until September 2.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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