Well folks I have been hitting the comedy/improv scene pretty hard in 2014. The Kinkonauts have been offering a constant stream of classes that I am continually excited to take and explore. And I have to say, I’m totally hooked. The energy I feel in these classes is replicated when I find the time to check out a show, whether it be from the Kinkonauts or the Loose Moose. With each show it is more evident to me that Calgary is experiencing a comedy renaissance, and I am keen to be a part of as an audience member and eager performer.
Last night after a week filled with deadlines and bouts of illness, I was blessed enough to have a free night to check out the last show of the Kinkonauts’ show week. The opening acts consisted of two troupes and their scenes encompassed everything I love about the Kinkonauts style. The only way I can describe it is to like it to a human experiment on stage. Performers go out there, start a scene without the outside help of a director or a coach, go with their first instinct and work with their stage partners to create something. And when it works it is magic and the performers are rewarded with laughter but I have to say that I have mad respect for the scenes that fail too. I respect that improvisers are brave enough to try different things out on stage and that they are given the rope to do so. Not only does that look fun to a wannabe performer but I really do believe the audience appreciates the effort and are rooting for the next scene’s success.
The next part of the show was Much Ado About Nothing, improvised Shakespeare. I have to say, I did not know what to expect and how well it would go over. Often improv audiences are younger and sillier and appreciate the gags over … well, Shakespeare. Plus, improvising in verse – come on that had to be impossible, right? Well, as another testament to Calgary’s rich comedy scene the “Royal” Kinkonaut Players used their quick wit, experimental improv style and hilarity to create a truly complex and engaging play called the “Wolf’s Bane”. What was so cool about this show was because the space was so small and props so limited, the audience could see the players put the complex story together on stage and on the sidelines. Whether they were being curtains in a scene or making plans with fellow players on the sideline for the next scene, the audience was privy to it all and that really added that spur of the moment feeling that improvisational theatre promises you. It was indeed, magic!
The night was capped off by a few of my favourite things: Calgary’s best, worst and only comedy hip hop group – Notorious, Boy Bands and of course stellar improvisations.
I know I have praised Notorious on this blog before but I am going to do again because this my blog and I can! Each member of Notorious – Mat Mailandt, Ryan Hildebrandt, Aaron Ranger, and Ryan Sheedy – bring a totally unique persona to the group but also work so well together, like any successful boy band really. They are just so quick and consistent with their comedy and I’m a huge fan! If you have not checked them out, DO IT! They’re playing a show March 22nd at Café Koi at 8pm – GO!
Next was another one of my favourite shows in the city, Mixtape and last night show was dedicated to boy bands (15 year old Andrea was ecstatic!). This show is one of my favourites because it brings together improvisers from different groups in the city and you can see their styles work together. Plus it has those magical long form looping of stories that just excite me so much and all to a boy band soundtrack! *swoon*
To top it all off I snuck my way into the after party. I’ve been a fan and student of improvisation for a while now and I have never felt more welcomed and encouraged to participate in the community as I have these past few months. So if by chance you are thinking of taking an improv class but are feeling intimidated, please don’t. The instructors and performers are really great people who want to see you succeed and most importantly, I promise you – you’ll have a good time!
The week ahead promises more good times with comedy! I have a writing class with Kevin McDonald from Kids In The Hall on Wednesday (eek!) and I am working on a special podcast project with a fellow comedy lover at the end of the week. The boundary-pushing styling of the Kinkonauts has really inspired me to experiment with how I can participate in comedy and I am ever so grateful for that!
Check out more Kinkonauts Show in April and get more information about upcoming classes, visit their website for more information.Picture courtesy of Cassie’s Camera.