Plays and featured shows in International TheatreSports Festival
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
The International TheatreSports Festival this year wrapped up last week with great success. During the entire week, memorable moments were created in the many theatres in Granville Island even in the streets of the area. Some plays featured different approaches to improv but every performance was different and still comedy gold.
During the festival, they did a competition called TheatreSports Summit where the many improv groups in the festival competed in a series of matches to try and get bragging rights. The four original improv groups that used the format were showcased.
In Unexpected Productions performance, they were beaten by the Asia team which included performers from Tokyo while the VTSL beat the Norway performers by a landslide in their performance. In the performances that I saw, Rapid Fire Theatre were beaten by the one-performer (hailing from the Colombian improv group Picnik) Latin America team. The founding improv group Loose Moose Theatre beat the European team in their performance. As I was going around Granville Island, I saw some performers going back and forth between the theatres and even in the other plays that I saw including The Ferocious Four.
Another play I took in was The Ferocious Four. Directed by Laura Doorneweerd, the play begins with her and the rest of the cast asking the audience what makes them happy; I suggested to them jazz music. The end result after further questioning was four friends (including a Tim Hortons owner, a police chief, and a maze designer) reuniting to stop a mastermind from burning buildings. To help with audience visualization, a cast member would describe the floor plan and show where specific objects were before each change.
Illustrating the levity of the festival, before I went on El Jaguar’s Fiesta Bus Tour, a person wearing a mask saw me and chased me through the street telling the people near me to run away from him; it was hilarious. The tour itself was very fun, and El Jaguar still wore his wrestling clothes even though it was chilly outside. He gave facts about Vancouver like if he knew the city but also stretched the truth a bit, such as a tennis court nearby the Granville Bridge described as the one seen in the Wes Anderson film The Royal Tenenbaums. He would also sporadically invite random people onto the bus (such as VTSL members) as he played off the passenger’s participation (such as me telling him that Justin Trudeau had been in the Woodwards building earlier). We also stopped at various food places including Hey, Dumplings in Chinatown where we ate and even invited the owner onto the bus.
At the end of the tour, we opened a pinata and we got candy. In all the shows that I saw in the festival, I learned that the more you know, the funnier things can be. The International TheatreSports Festival had a lot of humourous moments, and it is a masterclass for improv.