International TheatreSports Festival preview
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Improv is funny no matter what language it is performed in. Because it is made up on the spot, everyone can enjoy it. The biggest convention that involves improv comes to Vancouver this year with the International TheatreSports Institute Conference and Festival. The festival, which will take place from October 14 to October 20, will showcase the best of improv from around the world and present new ways to use improvisation.
Most of the shows and plays in the festival this year will be held at some of the theatres on Granville Island including The Improv Centre (home of the Vancouver TheatreSports League), The Waterfront Theatre, and The Nest.
One show which will be a highlight of the festival takes place on a bus. El Jaguar’s Fiesta Tour created by Derek Flores was a hit in New Zealand and it is now coming to our city. Enjoy a tour of Vancouver with a wrestler named El Jaguar as he describes his Vancouver and presents unexpected “facts.” Another hit improv show called The Ferocious Four, developed by Laura Doorneweerd from the Netherlands, is an improvised hero story with an all-female cast. Yet one more play to watch out for is the innovative Masks Unleashed, which is performed with masks and shows the challenges of doing improvisation with these props.
The flagship show of the Vancouver TheatreSports League, TheatreSports, was created by Keith Johnstone and was first performed at the University of Calgary before being performed daily in the Loose Moose Theatre. Some of the other shows that Johnstone developed will also be performed in the upcoming festival, including Gorilla Theatre where various actors do scenes on the spot with a “live gorilla” (played by a costumed performer) as someone directs them. We’ll also get to see the famous LifeGame where an audience member tells the story of their life and the improvisors present it based on the story.
Throughout the festival, TheatreSports shows will be performed with members in the local league as well as improvisors from Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre, Seattle’s Unexpected Productions, and Calgary’s Loose Moose Theatre with member and Kim’s Convenience star Andrew Phung in attendance.
If you like collaborations, Patti Stiles of Australia and Joe Bill of the US will be putting on a collaboration in Our Play where they showcase their different improvisation styles as well as their common values. You can also see plays that are based on suggestions from the audience and objects brought by attendees, including Play Unscripted, The Time is Now, and The Toys Strike Back!
With a variety of shows and plays being performed in the International TheatreSports Festival this year, you’re sure to find shows that will appeal to everyone and open our eyes to new ways to do things on the spot.