Archive for the ‘Improv’ Category

Coming Up in March 2018

In Improv, Theatre, Theatre Francais on March 1, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Three of these posts in a row? Man, I must be bored. And if you are too, you’re in luck, because here’s a boatload of awesome theatre to catch this March!

DEAD ACCOUNTS at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Not quite dead yet..! Until the 3rd.

LAUREN AND AMANDA DO IT at Live! On Elgin, from Toasted Theatre. One-night only remount of their Fringe smasheroo, to celebrate their 2nd (or maybe 3rd?) anniversary! On the 1st!


THE NORMAL HEART at the Gladstone, from TotoToo Theatre. Imagine if it were the ‘Nermal’ Heart? And it was about that weird little sidekick cat character from Garfield?? Be a totally different show! The 1st thru 10th.


UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER at Centrepointe Studio Theatre, from the Meus Productions. A Disney-themed sketch show for the whole family, for 2 nights only! The 1st and 2nd.

A CONFESSION at Academic Hall, from Fillum Productions and Achilea Endeavours. A one-shot benefit performance of a Tolstoy tale, starring Peter Howarth and directed by Julie LeGal! On the 3rd at 2pm.


THE INUIT STORY at Arts Court Theatre. Nunavut Sivaniksavut students tell their story through throat-singing, storytelling, dance and more! The 5th and 6th.

HOW BLACK MOTHERS SAY I LOVE YOU at the GCTC. I bet they say it all cool and stuff. From the creator of DA KINK IN MY HAIR! The 6th to 25th.


GODSPELL at Centrepointe Studio, from Ninth Hour. Are you ready for some happy, harmonizing hippies? Because here they come! The 8th to 17th.


GREASE at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Theatre. I hear the chicks will…enthusiastically applaud for this show. Good luck getting tickets! The 9th to 18th.


YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN at the Kailash Mital Theatre (Carleton U campus), from Carleton U Musical Theatre Ensemble. Singing and dancing, good grief! The 9th and 10th.


A NIGHT IN NOVEMBER at the Gladstone. Pierre Brault challenges the establishment with this show about November…in MARCH! Take that, calendar industry! The 12th to 17th.

Cheers to Sarajevo FINALPoster-page-001

CHEERS TO SARAJEVO at Academic Hall. One night only on the 13th!

THE ELEPHANT MAN at Glebe St.James United Church, from Sock’n’Buskin.  I’m hoping it’s a musical like in The Tall Guy, but I’m sure it’ll be fine played straight too.  From the 16th to 24th.

CARAVAN OF ILLUSION at Academic Hall, from Ottawa U Unicorn Theatre.  Travelling artists hit a fork in the road!  The 20th to 24th.


A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Do you think the streetcar drives under elm trees, making it kind of a crossover with Desire Under the Elms? Think about it. From the 21st to April 7th.

CARRIED AWAY ON THE CREST OF A WAVE at the NAC Theatre.Come get ‘carried away’ by the magic of theatre (they should totally put that on their posters for this show). The 21st to April 1st.

little one

LITTLE ONE at Live! on Elgin. More Moscovitch, and all the Lydias you can handle! the 22nd to 24th.



SLOWCOOKER at Black Squirrel Books (1078 Bank) from New Theatre Ottawa. A night of new play readings in this first installment of a great idea from NTO!  The 23rd.


STAGE KISS at the Gladstone, from Phoenix Players. Sarah Ruhl is back, and she’s brought some kissing with her this time! The 23rd to 31st.



ARSENIC AND OLD LACE at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre. Because it’s nice to know how best to accessorize with old lace. The 27th to April 7.


THE OTTAWA THEATRE CHALLENGE at Arts Court Theatre, hosted by a Company of Fools.  The annual theatre smackdown in honour of World Theatre Day, with multiple companies vying for the ultimate prize, the coveted rubber chicken award!

 – Theatre Francais


MONDMANN – MOON MISSIONS LUNAIRE  at la Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre du Trillium.  Werner von Braun and the race for the moon! The 6th to 10th.

MAGIE LENTE at the NAC studio. A show about mud and all that that entails! The 10th and 11th.


SOUFFLER LA VEILLEUSE at la Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre de la Vielle 17.  French adaptation of Arthur Milner’s GETTING TO ROOM TEMPERATURE. The 14th to 24th.

– BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!! Starting the month off right, we have the OTTAWA IMPROV FESTIVAL, hosted by those beauties at the Improv Embassy and featuring such comedy stalwarts as Crush Improv, Kirsten Rasmussen, Coko and Daphney, Big Bang, Quest Friends Forever and more! Check their website for full listings…runs from the 1st to 3rd at Arts Court.

OIF 2018

Of course there’s also the regular monthly adventures in Improv from the Embassy (including a one-night only return by Fringe hit XAVE RUTH on thee 24th), Crush Improv, Grimprov, Outtake Improv, Crystal Basement and probably more.  Check ’em all out if you need a giggle or three in these troubled times!  Also plenty of cool events at Live! on Elgin that I haven’t listed above (like the regular Monday night Fanfiction series!).

Ottawa Storytellers has several events, including their (Un)Told series, some business about Norse Gods (but not the new THOR movie, sorry…tho that’s out on blu-ray any day now!!), plus this one here I have a cool graphic for!  Check them all out!


Damn, this is taking a long time…I think SOMEthing is happening tonight and tomorrow at the new theatre space in Arts Court and Ottawa U?  Someone send me a link! And tell me what else I missed, hey gang?  And don’t complain that there’s ‘nothing to do’ this March. Shut up and see some shows!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

Holiday Crush 2014

In Improv on November 27, 2014 at 8:16 am

2014 is running out of days, but it still has plenty of improv left in the tank, thank goodness. Or rather, thank Crush Improv, who are packing December with a pair of killer shows to beat the Holiday blues and generate enough laughs to drown out even the most pervasive Xmas jingle.

The Crush Improv gang in anniversary action.

The Crush Improv gang in anniversary action.

First up on Monday December 1st is the last regular ‘BOUT TIME of the year at the Mother McGintey’s stage in the Byward Market. The teams have been loaded up with Crush fav’rits from the past year….Jillian Budgell, Kevin Mongeon, Ray Besharah, Melanie Karin Brown, Amanda Parker and Leslie Cserepy, taking one another on as Missiletoe and Bethlemayhem! All proceeds from the pay what you can admission are going straight to the Youth Services Bureau, a good goddamn cause indeed. Bracelets in memory of Jamie Hubley and supporting YSB’s Mental Health walk-in clinic will also be on sale. There’s also gonna be some prizes and treats up for grabs, including tickets to this next awesome event…

crush 007

CRUSH IMPROV’S 7th ANNIVERSARY SHOW hits Academic Hall on December 13th, and features the amazing collection of talent that we’ve come to expect from these annual spectacles of capitol city comedy. Aside from Crush stalwarts AL Connors, Des Warmington, Glen Gower, Tim Anderson, Dan Lajoie, Brooke Cameron AND Jordan Moffat, the gang will be joined by special guest stars and former collaborators like the wunnerful Kristine Shadid, Micheal Grajewski, and the fantastic Kirsten Rasmussen even!! This is in addition to the beamed-in guest-appearances from Crush co-founders Cari Leslie and Brad MacNeil, because the night just wouldn’t be complete without’em.

Kiersten Rassmussen and AL Connors from...Crush 5, was it?  Sure it was.

Kiersten Rassmussen and AL Connors from…Crush 5, was it? Sure it was.

Now the anniversary show lands on the 13th, which is my own anniversary as well…I’ll be marking my second 22nd birthday on that day, and Crush has decided to join in the festivities by letting me pass a bargain on to you folks! Head on over to the Crush website and you can pick up an advance ticket to the anniversary show at a 5 dollar discount off the regular 20-buck ticket price by using the discount code: Visitorium. This doesn’t apply to the early-bird rate currently being offered but they’re both the same sweet deal so who cares? Trust me guys, if you love the Crush Anniversary shows, you WANT to be at this one. NEED to. And not just because we’ve been promised a 007-style live musical intro, which will be worth the whole evening by itself.  Maybe even a Twitter Wall (if that’s your thing)!  This one’s got it all folks, and I hope to see y’all there.  And keep supporting Improv and live arts, you dig?  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)



In Improv on August 20, 2014 at 8:25 am

Once again, my little blog has gone sleepy-bye for an extended period, but this time I’ve got an excuse! It’s been a busy time for me, yes it has, starting with a sweet audition on Monday, important meetings with exceptional folks throughout, prep for a crazy upcoming adventure, and most importantly of all (at least for the purposes of this particular overdue post), I’ve been indulging myself as much as I could in week one of the 2014 MY SUMMER CRUSH series, now well underway at Arts Court. I was very regular attendee of last year’s event, attending tons of amazing workshops, and seeing hilarious shows by not only event hosts Crush Improv themselves, but guest stars like Bad Dog Theatre, Montreal Improv Kirsten Rasmussen and more. I was a little gutted to find I would only be able to hit up one week of this year’s MSC (see: crazy adventure, above), but figured that just meant I should make the most of it.

Only could make it out to two workshops this year, so two workshops is what I did. Those were an Improv Foundations ‘shop led by Crush’s own Brooke Cameron, and then a movement/physicality class by the lady Alix Sideris. It was very good to get back playing with some improv again, and especially from two super talented ladies such as this. Saw lots of fun new faces at both evenings, and am kind of wondering which of them will be joining the ranks of Aftermath Improv (the troupe that grew out of last year’s workshops, still going strong). Those two very much made me want to get back on a stage again…which I will, and soon, but more on that later.

Right now, it was time for some shows! Set up in Arts Court studio with the Kichissippi flowing freely (well, not FREE, but reasonably priced), I got in three nights of shows, and each time I laughed until I cried, and then laughed some more. Crush Improv (AL, Tim, Des, Brooke and Glen Gower, minus an ill Dan Lajoie) kicked off opening night with some of the funniest work I’ve ever seen them do, using the format they pioneered in the earlier CRUSH IMPROV SHOW a few months back. It’s genius, and Crush showed once again why they rule the improv roost in this here town.

msc 2014

Night two featured the return of Bout Time greats 2 and a Half Women (featuring Tim, Brooke and Kristine Shadid), who hosted the evening and reminded everyone why they won all those bouts. I even got one of my lines used in the show! They were followed by some newcomers to the Summer Crush Stage, Montreal’s Vinny Francois and Sean Michaels in VENEZUELA, a goddam brilliant two-man improv set done completely in gibberish. Maybe I just have it on the brain, but I swear them boys have some clown training in them. The things they did with just one written suggestion and their own timing and characters…divine.

But things really got cooking after that, when the legendary Summer Crush late show got underway. Both groups took the stage for some freeform improv jamming, which included a beautifully awkward standup comedy scene that is, hands down, on of THE funniest things I’ve ever witnessed in Improv. If it had kept going for another hour all on its own, I would have been a happy man.

On my last night, the 2014 Performance Ensemble took the stage. A group assembled via audition, and coached by various Crushers, the Ensemble is as amazing an example as you need of Crush Improv’s dedication to boosting the overall Improv scene in Ottawa (and for the record…it’s working). Featuring Marisa Bettino, Leslie Cserepy, Mary Harvey, Hayley Robateau, Ryan Walsh, Jill Budgell, Allison Harris, Amanda Parker, Kristine Shadid and Lauren Welchner, the gang did a seriously fantastic job in their debut performance, coached by the omnipresent Brooke Cameron. Worth it for the Butt Whisperer gag alone.

That set the stage for the return of Marc Rowland and Brent Skagford of Montreal Improv and EASY ACTION, a two-man on-the-fly action movie they wowed us with last year at Summer Crush, so much so they were invited back to do it again. The adventure this time involved estranged parents, young love, and what BMX really stands for. Watching Marc and Brent make their magic is almost criminally fun…these two are dad-blamed geniuses and no fooling. It’s also quite fun watching them crack each other up onstage, which happens a lot.

easy action poster

One more round of late night action, and some more magic, and that was sadly it for my time with My Summer Crush 2014. But it doesn’t have to be yours!! You’re still here, and there are so very many great things up and coming! Aside from tons more workshops which I urge anyone interested in Improv to try, there re lots more stellar shows from comedy heroes like Ladystache, Bad Dog Theatre (who bring their Trek-themed FINAL FRONTIER show to Ottawa this time around), Nick DiGaetano, Uncalled For, and of course, headliner Kevin McDonald of KIDS IN THE HALL. You might want to get an early ticket for THAT one. All of this plus the Sketch Comedy Café, Next Act Ensemble, the return of Bout Time heroines LBD, and of course plenty more Crush Improv and late night shenanigans. THIS is what’s happening in Ottawa in August, folks, and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you miss out on it. World class comedy at your doorstep…might wanna check it out. You know, if you like laughing and stuff. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

Crushed! 6 Years and Counting

In Improv on November 27, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Time’s a funny old thing.  It seems like barely a year since the last CRUSH IMPROV anniversary extravaganza, and here we are again!  And if ya thought last year’s shindig was a good time, well, you’re correct.  Pat yourself on the back, why dont’cha?  But more and gooder times await this Friday December 6th at the CRUSH IMPROV SIXTH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL at Academic Hall!

The CRUSH IMPROV lineup: Glen Gower, Brooke Cameron, Dan Lajoie, AL Connors and Tim Anderson.  Yay!

The CRUSH IMPROV lineup: Glen Gower, Brooke Cameron, Dan Lajoie, AL Connors and Tim Anderson. Yay!

There have been changes to the lineup of Ottawa’s premiere Improv troupe over the years, and even since last year some new blood has been added as Ottawa Improv fav’rit Brooke Cameron was asked to join long-standing Crushers AL Connors, Dan Lajoie, Tim Anderson and of course, Glen Gower on keys.  They’ve had an amazing year in 2014, finding a new home for their super-successful Bout Time monthly event, relaunching their SPOTLIGHT ON…shows, and hosting an amazing series of shows and workshops at the MY SUMMER CRUSH series that I’m still glowing over.  The gang will be getting together on the 6th for some major anniversary party fun and games, bringing back some former team members to make the night extra-special indeed.  Jordan Moffat, who has since taken up with the great Bad Dog Theatre in Toronto, will be live and in person for the festivities, while legendary alumni Cari Leslie (playing these days with Boom Chicago in Amsterdam) and the Brad MacNeil (grooving with Instant Theatre in Vancouver) will appear through the magick of televisuals, or some other such wizardry.  Those last two will be engaging in a rarely seen cross-continental game called the Doppelganger effect which, trust me, you want to come out to see.  And naturally, there will be a few other special guest stars coming out to play as well (Jordan may be bringing a Bad Dog bigshot along for the ride…)

But wait a minute, you ask, panicked like a small child…this show sounds like it might be kinda long.  Am I supposed to just sit there, watching and laughing, and NOT playing on my iphone?  What am I, a god-damned statue?

Well fret not, oh attention-deficient masses, Crush Improv has heard your sad pleas, and will not only be quite happy to accommodate your relentless in-show texting, sexting, and Angry-Birding, but will be providing an onstage Twitter wall to help those improv suggestions flow fast and free through the ether and onto the big screen.  Ain’t technology grand?

These people. On a stage. Being funny.  What else have you got to do with your life?  Pix by Andrew Alexander.

These people. On a stage. Being funny. What else have you got to do with your life? Pix by Andrew Alexander.

But wait.  Just wait one damn minute!  This show is on the 6th of December you say?  But it isn’t the 6th right this exact minute!  Just what the FUCK am I supposed to do with my life until then?  Huh?!?  Has Crush Improv thought of a clever dicky answer to THAT?  Oh God, it’s all so POINTLESS!!

Well, you just put that bottle of rat poison down, gentle reader, because Crush is still thinking of your best interests at all times.  If you can’t wait that long for the finest improv in the Capital, then come on out to Mother McGintey’s at the Heart and Crown Irish Village in the Market on December 2nd for the latest monthly installment of Crush’s epic ‘BOUT TIME series, and this one is one not to be missed.  Featuring the Bout Time return of THREE AND A HALF WOMEN (featuring Tim, Brooke and Kristine Shadid, who recently tore it up co-hosting the Fresh Meat Theatre Festival) going up against the all-star team of AL, Dan and Jeff Lawson in what will absolutely be one of the funniest nights of the year.  The fact that all proceeds of this event are going to the Ottawa Mission, well, that’s just good spirited icing on a hilarious cake.  Or something.  And knowing the Crush gang they’ve likely got workshops and spotlights and all sorts of other Hoo-Haa going on this month to boot.  Check their website and newsletter for all the facts.

And you know what else?  It’s the sixth anniversary special…and it’s ON the 6th.  I just got that.  Fucking genius.  Academic Hall.  20 bucks. Be there.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Crushed! The End Was Here.

In Improv on September 2, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Well, all good things must come to an end, because the universe is just terrible.  And here we are, post-MY SUMMER CRUSH and wondering where it’s all gone.  Lucky for you I’m a lazy little shit sometimes, and have yet to post this, my final report on the closing weekend shenanigans!  And yes, I actually made it out to the shows and workshops this time, and won’t be subjecting you to a review of my latest CHUCK marathon instead.  Not that I don’t have anything to say about that series finale (sigh).  What was with that lame villain, anyways..?

But on to business!  Since I’ve got so much to cover in this post, we’re breaking it into three sections…partly for efficiency, but mostly because I, like Anders Yates, LOVE lists.


Friday was my return to the Summer Crush series after a few crumby days of sniffling and sneezing and being a general sick creep.  So I may not have been at my high-energy best when I stepped into that afternoons workshop from the swell lads at Montreal Improv.  But Brent and Marc from MI had all the energy and then some, and our little group would just have to step up or get flattened.  The workshop was all about intention, or exploring the why of your improv character, and they tossed us into it straightaway with an exercize…each of us was assigned a secret desire, then we all jut mingled party-style.  When it was over, we all sat down and tried to figure out what everyone else’s character really wanted.  It was a tricky one for me, as my aforementioned low energy had me kind of lurking in the background for half the party.  But it was still pretty informative.    Next we did some smaller scenes, still informed by the one secret desire, and explored the different ways the character’s wants could express themselves…I found myself flashing back to ‘tactics’ from my OSSD acting classes.

We got into some bigger 4-person scenes, then…each with its own setting and characters, but each assigned a different attitude towards the other characters…ie: everyone in the scene I participated in had to pick one person on stage to think was always hilarious, another to treat like they were a celebrity, and a third to treat as if they were terminally ill.  Which becomes tricky when you’re trying to do a scene about watching a football game, but also takes it in pretty fun new directions.  Kudos to Andrew for ending the scene like a champ by falling off his chair…that Andy Massingham workshop has clearly sunk in.

The lads gave us plenty to chew on, and apologies for how much I’m likely forgetting to write down here, but that’s what happens when I wait days and says to write about something.  We had a little break between workshop and show, and I had me a sammich and donut, and returned to arts court ready for the evenings festivities when a surprise came upon me. Having only expected to watch the show, AL Connors up and asked if I wanted to join in with the onstage opening act (I’d missed my scheduled performance the day before).  That main improv tenet of always saying yes kicked in, and I found myself in the theatre, warming up with AL, special guest-star Colin Munch, Ray Besharah, Andrew, Adam and Jennifer.  Honestly, I think the crazy shit we warmed up with might have been better than what we did on stage, although that was pretty fun too.  Did an options scene with Ray and Colin (Hurray for Captain Planet!), a quick round of Questions that Jennifer handily won, a bit of good old foursquare which I THINK I’m getting better at…it was a fun surprise, and I’m thankful to AL for asking me up.

easy action poster
But better stuff was to come, as Brent and Marc hit the stage for their EASY ACTION show, an improvised 2-man action movie That…wow.  This show was so awesome I think I might be pregnant now.  Setting their tale in the Florida everglades after an audience suggestion/story, they blasted out with a show filled with evil redneck developers, elderly bystanders, a tortured explosive expert and his moody teenage son, swamp people, and of course, giant walking trees. Watching these two cats juggle multiple characters, accents and on-the fly plotlines was a funky kinda magic…having their own music cues was the icing on the cake.  I continue to be amazed at the ridiculously high calibre of talent Crush Improv has managed to corral for this series…and I had one more night to be impressed.


The swell lads of UNCALLED FOR.

The swell lads (Anders Yates and Colin Munch) of UNCALLED FOR.

Saturday was the final day of MY SUMMER CRUSH, but it was not to pass idly.  This was, after all, Uncalled for Day at the crush, and the last and longest of the workshops was set to begin at noon sharp (a pleasantly threatening e-mail from HM, had plenty of bums in seats on time for a change).  This was the much anticipated Sketch Writing workshop hosted by Anders Yates, and to my delight Colin Munch decided to co-host the shop with him.  Everyone pulled up a table and a notebook…yes, we were writing BY HAND, internet, that’s how hardcore this workshop was…and the lads started putting us through our paces.  A few timed writing drills, two minutes or 5 of solid scribbling, just to get us in the right headspace…led us into a discussion of where to look to find the hook, or as Anders put it, the ‘game’ of a scene.  We did some more quick timed writing, this time with a dialogue-heavy slant, then had to surprisingly share it with another workshopper, who got to try and imagine places to go with it.  Anders and Colin are both big advocates of showing your work to others if you’re blocked (or even if you’re not), and this was a pretty good argument for it.  Kind of amazing what a new pair of eyes can come up with.

A bigger team exercize had us brainstorming all sorts of simple words and phrases, as many as we could come up with, off of a central theme…me, T-Lev and Laura Hall got ‘Chores’…and then come up with at least 5 different sketch premises based on some combination of whatever we had on the page.  It was a pretty energizing idea, especially when we handed our lists off to someone else, and then had to choose an idea off someone ELSE’S list to attack as a sketch for 15 minutes.  And once we came up with something, it was then time to hand our sketch off to yet another group, and try and rewrite or finish whatever we got in return.  It was some challenging fun times, and I hope it rekindled a bit of that old creative writer lurking underneath all of my bloggery.

That LAND OF THE LOST fanfiction isn't going to write itself, after all.

That LAND OF THE LOST fanfiction isn’t going to write itself, after all.

A little break for dinner, and my third and final visit to Smoke’s of the series (I think we need a break ourselves now, Smoke, no offense), until back to the curt for UNCALLED FOR in all their 2-man glory, performing their Greatest Sketch Hits show.  Anders and Colin showed pretty fucking convincingly that they know what they speak of in the sketch comedy game with this rapid-fire collection of bits, one funnier than the next.  Highlights include Russian mafioso, Cupid’s troubled home life, time travel mishaps, and astronauts in love.  The ending was so perfect it might be an insult to the Creator.  An incredible end to an incredible series.  But WAIT..!



That’s right, it was now time for the final LATE SHOW of the series, and of course all bets were off at this point.  People were feeling good, the shot-ski was out and ready for action at the bar, and Crush  was in fine form.  They performed the first set with the lads from Uncalled For, to the delight of everyone assembled.  Afterwards they opened up the floor, inviting all the various improvisers in the audience up in shifts to play a few games and put the finishing moves on the night.  And yes, even I went up in the second wave, doing a marathon session of “I want to see a scene called”, in which Dan Lajoie made the glorious mistake of setting himself up to be alone onstage, which led into a rather seriously epic 7 minute monologue on the good old days that no one present will EVER forget.  For my own part, I got up a few times, and I think I am now closer than ever to perfecting my Rubiks Cube mime.

Which brings to the really real end of MY SUMMER CRUSH.  I have a lot of feeling about this years’ series, all of them good or better.  A lot of you folks missed a lot of this series, and you made a terrible mistake, I can tell ya right now.  Crush Improv, especially AL and HM Connors did an incredible job putting this baby together (major props to all the awesome volunteers, too). The kinds of workshops they presented in this series are worth their weight in gold, and I consider myself 20 kinds of lucky to have had the chance to benefit from them.  I’ve now improvised in full sets three whole times, in front of an audience even…and even as recently as 2 years ago I wouldn’t have ever imagined myself doing that.  And while I’m not gonna say I’m any good at it, I will say I’m about 100 times better at it than before this series began.  And all the friendly faces I met and reacquainted myself with at this affair was unbelievable…all my love to Ryan, Kevin M, Jillian, Jennifer, Andrew, Adam, Leah, Liz, Travis, and everyone else I’m forgetting here.   HUGE thanks to Dan, AL, Kirsten, Chris, Tess, Anders, Colin, Mark, Brent and Andy for the amazing lessons and good times at the workshops. To everyone for the shows…TOUGH!, EASY ACTION and Uncalled For’s GREATEST SKETCH HITS (which I’ll admit, needs a catchier title) were fucking incredible, as were the new views of May Can’s great HAPPINESStm and WOLVES>BOYS.

I’m already looking back at the last 3 weeks, and thinking of them as my own personal good old days.  VERY glad to hear they’ll be back again next year, and I’m already looking forward.  And in the meantime, Crush and the gang will be back in a week at the Heart and Crown in the Market for their regular ‘BOUT TIME show, this one happening on my first day of school at OTS.  Sounds like a celebration to me…I’d better see you there.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Crush Improv
May Can Theatre
Kirsten Rasmussen
Bad Dog Theatre
Montreal Improv
Uncalled For

Crushed! AL vs. Dan, Round 2 (sort of)

In Improv on August 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Okay, full confession…I was actually kind of sick this week, and I missed both AL and Dan’s workshops at MY SUMMER CRUSH this week.  Boo! But, the show must go on, am I right?  So without further ado, here’s part two of my Tuesday/Wednesday workshop comparison, now being settled by the TV shows I watched those nights.

Tuesday night was my first night home sick, and I like to think I was receiving divine guidance from Dan Lajoie (whose workshop I was missing that evening) as I uploaded teevee episodes to my flash USB drive to sit and watch while blowing my nose repeatedly.  I ended up with a lot, but settled on the following four episodes…let’s see how the evening played out:

Episode 1 – CHUCK.  Right, catching up on Chuck season 5…final season!  Exciting!  This one was kind of a Christmas episode, not my fav’rit, but it actually ended up being kind of badass.  Brandon Routh was in it…you might remember him from being a terrible Superman a few years ago (before the currently terrible Superman took over).  Anyways, he gets beat up in it, so THAT’S good.  And it made some neat advances in the season-long arc, so lets call that 2 points for Dan.

Episode 2 – THE TIME TUNNEL.  Oooh, and oldie and a goodie!  Irwin Allen time-travel goodness, and this one was a pretty unusually cool one.  Fuckin’ Robert Duvall was the guest star, sabotaging the Time Tunnel and leading Doug and Tony on a chase over two million years across.  Plus foil-wearing future humans, and implied dino-bees!  A whopping 3 points for Sir Lajoie right here!

Your hair must be THIS perfect to travel through time.

Your hair must be THIS perfect to travel through time.

Episode 3 – THE BORGIAS.  Have you watched this show yet?  It’s basically GAME OF THRONES without the dragons.  I think we might be living in a new Golden Age of Television when companies are competing to make the most expensive, violent softcore porn they can.  Anyhow, this one was about new Pope Jeremy Irons getting his daughter Lucrezia married off, while various intrigue-plots prance bloodily along in the sidelines.  Only 1 point for this one though, because the rape scene made me feel all icky.

Episode 4 – VEEP.  Hey, didn’t I watch the first ep of this, like, ages ago?  Time for the second one! Why not?  Julia Louis Dreyfuss (who still looks goddam lovely, might I say) as a hilariously powerless Vice President, in this one failing to push through several pet projects while managing to fuck up a photo-op at a Frozen Yoghurt shop.  Funny show.  A few poop jokes.  2 more points to Dan, for a grand total of 8.  Not bad, mister Lajoie!  Good workshop!

The extent of my political activism, ladies and gentlemen.

The extent of my political activism, ladies and gentlemen.

And over on AL’s night, here’s what his spirit guided me to view…

Episodes 1 and 2: CHUCK.   Would ya look at that?  A Chuck double-bill!  The dreaded DoubleChuck!  AL Connors does NOT fool around, folks.  On tonight was a cool one featuring some Sarah backstory (we like Sarah, mmmmm), with a guest appearance by former Charlie’s Angel Cheryl Ladd.  Excellent nostalgia factor there, and some surprisingly hardcore fight scenes.  3 points!  The second one was weaker…some goofy romance with Adam Baldwin and the lady from the Matrix, blah blah blah. I started to miss the Intersect before this one was over. Only 1 point there.

The Subway promos ARE a bit much, tho.  For serious.

Oh Chuck, you’re the everyman in all of us.  I’ll miss you.

Episode 3: THE FINDER.  A new one for me, the first episode of a one-season wonder that most of you probably don’t remember ever hearing about.  Honestly, I can’t really recall why it’s even on my hard drive, but there you go.  It’s about some dashing Iraq war vet who suffered brain damage and now he’s really good at finding things, because that makes perfect sense.  It was actually a lot more watchable than it sounds, and props for the late Michael Clarke Duncan being in it…his booming voice is always a treat.  Good quirk in this show.  A solid 2 pointer.

Episode 4: COMMANDER IN CHIEF.  Did you ever really want to watch the West Wing, but wished it weren’t THAT good?  Have I got the show for you!  Featuring Geena Davis as an uppity independent woman who becomes President (the nerve..!), this ep features her trying to secure a Veep of her own.  Arch-enemy Donald Sutherland wants Bruce Boxleitner to get the nod, but Geena has her heart set on Peter Coyote, because fuck Babylon 5.  A point for Donald Sutherland, and a point for being slightly (slightly) better than the first episode.

And you believed me up there when I said I wasn't politically active.  TWO presidential tv shows I watched! Shame on you.

And you believed me up there when I said I wasn’t politically active. TWO presidential tv shows I watched! Shame on you.

That brings AL to a total of 8…and it’s another tie!  I can’t believe it!  It’s almost as if I’m too wishy-washy to declare a victor!!  Although props to Dan for tackling a lady President show with a lady Vice-President show.  That’s the kind of plucky, underdog spirit we like here at the Visitorium.  I think this kid Lajoie is one to watch out for, folks.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have soup to eat, noses to blow (well, one, anyway) and clearly MUCH more teevee to watch.  Peace, love and soul, folks,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Crushed! Bad Dog Day

In Improv, Theatre on August 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm

This past Saturday was a pretty fucking amazing day, not gonna lie.  And I don’t claim to have amazing days all too often, so feel free to read on.  For starters, it was my second Saturday off in a row, so, SHAZAM, right there.  And it was my second Saturday spent at MY SUMMER CRUSH, courtesy of local heroes Crush Improv, this being the end of week two of three of their expanded and outstanding summer series.  Last Saturday was spent in the sublime company of the lady miss Kirsten Rasmussen, and it was hard to imagine how this weekend was gonna top that.  And while I’m not saying it DID top it (because, Kirsten Rasmussen!), this day was right up there, believe me.


Special guest stars for the day BAD DOG THEATRE were pouring into town by the vanful out of Toronto, and three of them got there early enough to teach us stuffy Ottawa types a thing or two in a special Theme exploration Workshop from 1-5, which I was mightily looking forward to.  Improvisers and instructors Anders Yates (who some of you might remember from his time in the awesome troupe UNCALLED FOR), Chris Ramelan and Tess Degenstein ushered me and seven other attendees under their wings for a workshop that would very handily blow my mind.  For serious, gang, the way they stripped down the process of creating a scene from scratch and making it matter was so bafflingly simple it was like one of those wonky lenticular pictures you stare at, when suddenly another picture just emerges out of nothing. You know, if I ever actually saw the pictures in those things.  As it is, I’m usually stuck being Ethan Supplee in MALLRATS…but not today.

First off, lemme tell y’all about a very cool and slightly weird exercize* the gang walked us through…it involved pairing up with someone, facing off, and staring each other straight in the eyes.  No, that’s NOT all.  Chris would shout out a word…say, Desert.  One partner would then say that word to their partner, and the other would have to say the first related word that popped into their head.  Simple, right?  Well, turns out maybe not so much, especially when Chris is running around the room urging us to go faster and faster, and then adding in new conditions at random (“famous people associated with deserts only…go”:) , culminating in a round where the every couple had to create a story back and forth, using only one word at a time.  Not like “The” “Desert” “Was” “Hot”…or anything like that, nut more like Snapshots, as Chris put it.  Something like:


…and so on, if you get the picture.  It reminded me a bit of that improv game where everyone gets assigned a number, and can only speak in sentences with that many words in it, but if everyone just got one.  Which, now that I’ve done this, would be a pretty interesting thing to try.  I grappled with this one for a while, no lie…it was hard to turn the conscious part of my mind down enough to just go with the flow.  Also, making eye contact apparently freaks me the fuck out. But that’s another story.

Honestly, there was a ton of amazingly useful information and play in that workshop, including two of my fav’rit scenes I’ve ever played in (an admittedly limited repertoire to draw from, but still).  Very good tips got drilled in about how to start a scene, build a relationship, find the stakes and raise them, and just allow yourself the time to let your world establish itself, before the robots attack or the puppy factory burs down, or whatever the wacky twist is.  I know this rookie has a tendency to rush to the crisis, before the audience gets a chance to find out what anyone’s name is, or why we should give a shit about their lives.  I could go on and on, but I’ll just say that if you’re interested in Improv and Bad Dog Theatre is around, GO TO THEM.  They are wise indeed (and terribly pleasant folk to play an afternoon away with, too…Anders, Chris and Tess were perfect hosts and instructors, all love to them).

Once the shop was over I hightailed it to Smoke’s for a poutine dinner and some down time before heading right back to Arts Court, where the Bad Dog show was slated to start up at 8.  Well, not exactly at 8, since there was an opening act consisting of a little game play from 4 members of the advanced workshop crew.  And tonight, that was Ryan, Kevin M, Jill…and me.  Yessir, it was time to see if any of this learning was sinking in, or if I was even half as funny as I think I am when it’s just me and Winston at the apartment.  Bad Dog had drawn a good sized crowd, so me and the gang had some pressure on us.  Dan Lajoie handled the emcee chores, and gave us four games to goof around with…Options (which is a straightforward improv scene, with occasional interruptions for new audience suggestions and directions), Foursquare (four different 2-person scenes, rotated in a square formation, very fun), Switch/Change (like foursquare, but now a single 2-person scene, parts alternating between all 4 performers), and New Choice (in which performers are occasionally ordered to change their last line of dialogue, until the emcee decides the scene can continue).   You can probably YouTube all of these games (name variance from region to region notwithstanding) to get a better idea if you’re not familiar with them, but I think that, rough patches and rookie bumbles aside, we handled ourselves just fine.  I’m really starting to enjoy foursquare and new choice, although I could still feel myself holding back as far as making broad character choices goes.  But since it was my first time doing improv in front of an honest-to-gosh audience, I forgive myself.  Just this once.  Mad props to Kevin M, Jill and Ryan, who knocked it outta the park and made me look good.  I’ll never forget the wheelbarrow factory.


But once our set ended, it was time for the main event, and that was the Bad Dog Repertory Company’s THIS CANADIAN LIFE, based on some podcast or other that is apparently a thing. Taking a suggestion from audience member and fellow advanced workshopee Adam, the BadDog troupe based their makeshift 3-part live radio show on summer camping, and featured a veritable Avengers-worthy lineup of comedy rockstars…as well as Chris Ramelan, Anders Yates and Tess Degenstein, there was Colin Munch, Sarah Hillier, Sean Tabares, Jess Bryson, and…oh God, was that all of them?  Am I missing someone?  SO MANY FUNNY PEOPLE.  Watching them work was downright inspirational…their collective improv skills are off the charts….like tossing words into a blender, and ending up with the script to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Like with Kirsten Rasmussen the week before, everything we were taught in the workshop got an incredible showcase in their performance.  The Bad Dogs can craft a scene and characters like the masters of old, and I hadn’t laughed as hard since…well, last Saturday.  Have I mentioned how much I’m enjoying this series?

Seriously great stuff, I’m in awe of the whole troupe (I could have watched Sarah and Jess as their excitable camp girl characters for a solid hour all by themselves…painfully fucking funny), and I’ll be watching for any chance on my schedule to hop down to Toronto and see them in their native element where they put on regular themed shows.  Sounds like a great excuse for a road trip to me, anyways.  They brought the house down, and stuck around for the late show with Crush.  And what happens at the late show stays at the late show, but I will say this: Unitards.  If you missed this one, folks, you missed OUT.

And now I’m out too, it feels like I’ve been raving for quite a while now.  Up this week at MY SUMMER CRUSH: Final Foundations and Advanced workshops with Dan and AL on Tuesday and Wednesday, Performance Ensemble showcase on Thursday (which I might be part of the opening set for once again), MONTREAL IMPROV with a workshop and show, EASY ACTION on Friday night, Anders Yates sketch writing workshop on Saturday afternoon, UNCALLED FOR with their greatest sketch hits that night, and the final epic Late Show at 10 that night.  Please do yourself a favour and come out for some of this great stuff, trust me…we WANT this series to get bigger and better every year. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

* to anyone who might be getting annoyed at my spelling of this word (and by ‘anyone’, I of course mean Caitlin), I just wanted to say, yes, I’m well aware that the ‘proper’ spelling is Exercise.  My spelling here is a nod to an old hero of mine, Robert Anton Wilson, who used this version of the word (quite deliberately, mind you) in his books quite frequently, because what fun are words and language if you can’t shape them to your will from time to time?

Crushed! Andy Falls Down

In Improv, Theatre on August 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Having some down time between the just-completed Movement workshop with Andy Massingham, and the stage debut of the MY SUMMER CRUSH Performance Ensemble, so figgered I’d take this opportunity (hurray for laptops!) To yammer a bit about OMG ANDY MASSINGHAM MOVEMENT WORKSHOP!!  Andy Massingham is a local actor/creator/everything else about town, whose most recent credit is directing the smash ARMS AND THE MAN for Odyssey Theatre, just wrapping up its run in Strathcona Park.  He knows his shit.
I had done a movement workshop a couple of years back, courtesy of Andy’s superhuman partner Alix Sideris, so I had an inkling of what to expect…it would be amazing, I’d sweat, and there would be wonderful, beautiful pain.  It was a bit of a wonky turnout, in that it was entirely dudes…Myself, Leslie (I know, but he’s a guy, trust me), Dave Brown, Andrew, Adam, Travis, and Ryan.  I’d done workshops of one stripe or another with all these fellas before, so it was a close-knit group.  Andy showed up predictably full of smiles and energy, and teeming with wondrous ideas of how to teach and abuse us hapless lot.  First up was a sort of trust exercize involving chairs, a lot of running, and a lot of leaps (or rather, sits) of faith as we scampered about the stage, randomly sitting down and hoping someone else would run up behind us with a chair to sit on.  It was the first of many astoundingly simple but wonderfully terrifying adventures of the day.

We worked with what Andy calls Impulses, in scenework that was very reminiscent of something I did with Boss Barry Karp back in my OSSD days.  He’s run us through a simple scene, with 6 main beats, or ‘impulses’.  Then replay it, only faster.  Then faster.  Then FASTER.  Then please kill me, but the point got across.  And introduction to the wonders of gravity followed, with an intro by Andy to the ‘point of no return’, and just how much work it takes NOT to fall down after the tipping point.

Eventually we got there…falling.  Lots and lots of falling.  Andy, having once performed in a show that was pretty much 45 minutes of falling with some text here and there (the lovely BIFURCATE ME, by the way), knows him some falling down, and he ran us through a good round of pratfalling.  We started with the classic spin-drop, adding in a bit of a trip once we’d all had a chance to hurt ourselves in fun ways.  Then came the joy/horror of a Buster Keaton inspired fall and roll off a chair, which I’m still smarting from.  I didn’t know it was possible to hurt your throat from falling down, but I managed.

Buster, how COULD you..?

Buster, how COULD you..?

Might have to rearrange the furniture in my apartment, so I can perfect that sucker (with apologies in advance to my downstairs neighbours).  Kind of annoyed at myself for how much I was resisting the fall, like I really had to force myself into it.  But then, I never said I wasn’t a chickenshit.

All in all, bruise for bruise, this was as cool a workshop as I’d expected it would be.  And since I’m about to have Andy as one of my full-time instructors at the Ottawa Theatre School, I’m well aware that there’s more of this to come in my life.  Fucking YIKES.  This is a short entry for now, a bit of a bumper before I get the mighty BAD DOG DAY roundup going.  It was pretty epic, gang.  In the meantime, there’s plenty of MY SUMMER CRUSH left in this final week, with the regular Crush Improv workshops and performances, plus workshops and shows from awesome guest-stars MONTREAL IMPROV and UNCALLED FOR.  Be there, unless you enjoy missing some of the best times and biggest laughs in town.  Which is just weird…stop being weird.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

PS: sorry again Adam, for that one time I was late with the chair!!  You owe me one.

Crushed! AL vs. Dan, round 1

In Improv, Theatre on August 23, 2013 at 8:42 am

Another week, more slacking off on MY SUMMER CRUSH posting!  And it’s already been a two-workshop kinda week, with lots to yammer about.  I hit up week 2 of AL Connors’ Advanced Improv workshop on Wednesday night, natch, but this week I also stopped in on the Foundations Workshop run by Dan Lajoie on Tuesday evening.  Had a good time at them both, I can safely say, but the question on all of your minds now is…which was better?  I shall now attempt to prove once and for all who is the better Improv coach…AL “Mrs.HM” Connors, or Dan “Hey, that’s not Brad McNeil” Lajoie.  I will attempt this in as nonlinear a fashion as possible.


Dan’s shop started with about 8 of us rookies, including a couple of his cousins and good guy Leslie Cserepy (always nice to have a familiar face in the crowd), and a surprisingly thorough limbering up/opening stretch routine.  Dan walks into nothing unprepared, folks..he’s a lot like Batman in that way (suck it, Affleck..!).  Over at AL’s shop the next day, he started us (mostly returned from the previous week, with a few sadly missing faces but Leslie and Ray Besharah tagging in, among others, yay!) with a few name game rounds, zipping around the circle to try and remember who the Hell we all were.  We acquitted ourselves…passably.

After warmup, Dan scored some bonus points by starting us off where Kirsten Rasmussen left off, namely with a little character generation, and a swell round of Hot Seat in which we all got to be interviewed as characters we created out of a single physical gesture.  I ended up as jo-E, male model for Sears.   And no, I will not answer any questions about Roebuck..!

AL had us all doing a mass game of ‘Freeze’, where two folks would do a scene on stage, and at any time someone could clap and yell FREEZE! And then take the place of one of the improvisers, beginning an entirely new scene from whatever physical position they inherited.  I had a good time with this one, once I reminded myself to stop staring and waiting for a position I thought I had an idea for, and just clap my hands, go in blind, and make something up at the last second.  It’s hard for me to turn my writers brain off and turn the improvisers brain on, but I’m starting to get it.  And it worked.  The game morphed into its evil twin ‘Bastard Freeze’, where you still clap and stop the scene, but this time order someone else onto the stage.

Dan’s character work continued, meanwhile (and 24 hours earlier), with some paired scenework.  Two of us would hit the stage (me and Leslie started things off this time), get a quick word of inspiration from Dan as to what our character would be based on…Leslie got Dust, and I got Trucks.  And a few seconds later, off we went, with angry trucker Jim Earl trying to get his radio fixed from a somewhat flaky clerk.  It was gold, folks, a sitcom in the making.

AL’s shop led to a round robin of scenework, with two-person scenes rotating on and off the stage in succession.  The twist was, the next person in the queue had the power to decide when the previous scene was ‘done’, either by natural high point, running out of steam, whatever.  It was an interesting experiment in editing.  My first scene with Jill, about a brother and sister who were maybe a little too close, could not have ended soon enough.  That led into me and Ray Besharah trying to crack into the Snakehandlers union, and the debut of my weak Australian accent for some reason.  Good times.

For enders, AL tossed a couple of classically deadly improv games at us…3-way dub, and stage directions.  It was kind of a sink or swim thing, but I think we managed pretty well…Me, Leslie and Jill had a decent 3-way dub about the pyramids, then Jill and I enjoyed some domestic violence stage direction style (the only way it should ever be enjoyed, folks).

I think I’m blanking on some stuff at the end of Dan’s shop…I blame the headache that knocked me out all day yesterday.  In fact, I think It’s still too early to call a victor on this one…I’m just gonna have to come back to both workshops NEXT week, and get a little more to go on.  Only fair.

MY SUMMER CRUSH is half over, folks, but still lots of great sstuff to come.  Tonight is not only Andy Massingham’s movement workshop, which is gonna be epic, but also the public debut of the Performance Ensemble that’s been training up since the beginning (including Laura Hall, wee Lauren, Joel Garrow, Dave Benedict Brown, Ryan Walsh and the Hai/yleys).  Saturday the legendary BAD DOG THEATRE rolls into town for what promises to be an amazing workshop and incredible show of THIS CANADIAN LIFE (which, by the by, I and some of my fellow advanced students will be opening up for…be there).  And then there’s the late show, which is utter madness by nature.  See you there, yah?  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Crushed! Can I Try That?

In Improv, Theatre on August 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Another day, another immersion into MY SUMMER CRUSH, and this one was the best one yet.  I know I promised today would be written by a special guest-blogger, but I just now realized that absolutely would not work for a variety of reasons…a bit of an annoyingly recurring theme on the blog these days.  Ah, me.  For now you’ll just have to settle for my dumb old voice, telling you about all of the AWESOME STUFF you missed (or didn’t, if you were one of the wise and lucky few I shared this particular day with).

As I said, this was a day to get very excited about at The Crush, because it was KIRSTEN RASMUSSEN DAY!  For those of you miserable enough to not be at least passingly familiar with miss Kirsten, she’s an improv guru out of Toronto, formerly Montreal (where she co-founded Montreal Improv, who will be in town later this series) who is also one of the funniest people on the planet.  She’s done improv all over, and was most recently in our town for Crush Improv’s 5th anniversary special a while back.    She did a workshop even before that, and I was gutted when I had to miss it, so there was no way I was gonna strike out when I heard she was holding a 4-hour character development shop as part of this event.  I showed up eager and sporting my most fashionable hangover, hoping like Hell I wouldn’t fall too far behind the other attendees.  It was a smaller turnout than I’d been expecting, but in retrospect I’m glad it wasn’t any larger…more Kirsten for us!

The lady Miss Kirsten Rasmussen!

The lady Miss Kirsten Rasmussen!

‘Us’, by the by, was myself, T-Lev, Brooke, Ryan, Ayma, Travis, good guy Leslie Cserepy, and the man himself Dave Benedict Brown (and, for a little while in there, Paolo). We were met by HM, My Summer Crush’s semi-benevolent overlord, and ushered into the Arts Court Theatre where our lesson courtesy of comedy dynamo Kirsten Rasmussen was about to begin.  After introductions, she put us through a few warmups (which my out of shape carcass is still a little sore from….Theatre school is gonna KILL me, isn’t it..?)  before getting to the heart of the workshop.  She started in on some classic theatre techniques (which I soon recognized as stuff I’d been introduced to by Brie Barker at the OSSD two years back) centered around making strong character choices…fast or slow, heavy or light, directness, and where the fuck is your center, son?  We did a few dozen laps of the theatre switching between various combinations before we started creating characters to go with them.  I ended up with Chester Heatherington, Brick Petunia (professional sports podcaster) and…some old lady whose name I no longer remember, before we broke for a refresher.  I should say at this point that Miss R. is an amazing instructor, and the way she slips in and out of completely rounded characters at the blink of an eye is inspirational in the extreme.

Break’s over!  Everyone knocked down some caffeine and, if memory serves, we played a game of Hot Seat.  This little exercize works by putting two of us on stage to create a character on the fly, then sitting down to be interviewed AS said character by Boss Kirsten. We were allowed to ask for a suggestion (like an animal, or a colour) for inspiration…I went emotion, and got Fear to work with.  A few seconds later, this little lady was born (my original idea was to let her write this entire post…but you likely wouldn’t have been able to ‘hear’ her voice too well.  I compromised and asked her to write a little something bout herself, based on what we learned in her brief time in the Hot Seat):


Hello.  My name is Sally Pidgeon, and I’m 14 years old.  I’m in the eighth grade…I have two brothers who are bigger and older than me.  Alphonse isn’t so much bigger, though, and sometimes we play fort together.  My oldest brother Gorbachev (don’t make fun of his name or you’ll get a punch!) Is in grade ten and he can be SO MEAN!  He protects us from th’other kids, but he also takes my lunch monies sometimes and is scary.

My Mom named him that, I think because she knew it would make my Dad so mad (Daddy hates ‘commie-nists’ a whole lot, and says that Gorbachev is one of those kindsa names).  My Mom is a lectrical engineer, which is what I wanna be when I grow up so I can make the mini-golf castle go at the right speeds and stuff so I can get the little golfball through for once.  Even Alphonse laughs at me when I play the mini-golf.  It makes me feel dumb.

Gorbachev says I’m a fraidy cat, and I totally am not, except sometimes maybe.  I like to try all sorts of stuff, and I’m always asking people ’Can I try That?’ and stuff, like when I saw Missy Goldfranken with her hula hoop.  And she gave it to me to try!  But then I got scared and ran away.  It was a funny color. 


Thanks Sally.  Hopefully, you’re getting what a fantastic time this workshop was…I learned buckets about just how much work goes into making it look easy, and the day wasn’t over yet.  When the shop ended, I broke away for some poutine and bloggery before heading right on back for Kirsten’s one-woman show, TOUGH!  I’d heard and read nothing but good things about this one, and was pretty damn giddy to see it at last.  Starring Miss Kirsten as a whole mess of characters (seeing this show really drove home a LOT of what she taught us earlier that day), the show centers on the stories of Amanda Pain, a novice boxer, and Lucy Diamond, a nightclub singer looking to get out from underneath the shadow of her famous crooner Dad Dickie.  The two stories are connected in a wonderful way that reveals itself over the course of this, just about the funniest show I’ve ever been lucky enough to see.  Kirsten is utterly amazing in this show, like if Jayson McDonald and Carol Burnett ran really fast into each other and merged into one superbeing.  Along with our two main characters, Kirsten brings to life plenty of other memorable folks…I was plenty tickled with the coach and bartender, myself.  And Esther…oh, my.  I have never laughed so hard at a character’s one second of stage time in my life, and don’t expect to ever again.

Wrong show information at the bottom there, but you get the idea.

Wrong show information at the bottom there, but you get the idea.

The show is peppered with original songs belted out my Miss Rasmussen, who can sing on top of everything else (I forgot to buy a CD, dagnabbit, but they DO exist).  TOUGH! is something I’ll never forget, and I would do terrible things to people for the chance to see it again someday.  And would you believe it, the day STILL wasn’t over!  Because now, it was time for the first of three LATE SHOWS, a 10 pm Saturday improv jam that got every bit as chaotic and hysterical as you might expect.  HOW chaotic?  Would you believe even I took to the stage at one point for a game of Switch/Change?  And didn’t totally suck?  Okay, you don’t have to believe that last part, but it still happened.  Of course, things got much better later on when AL, Dan, Brooke and Kirsten took over the stage for some long form shenanigans involving bad teeth and the sexual violation of the elderly that you really had to be there for.  Don’t worry, there’ll be another chance this coming Saturday, after a solid day of Bad Dog Theatre that will be the NEXT best day I have.

A huge thank you to Crush Improv for putting this great programming together, and major props to Kirsten Rasmussen for making my month.  For reals, if you meet this woman and don’t fall at least a little bit in love with her, then you’re an awful person and I hate you SO MUCH (I know, I get carried away sometimes.  Bite me).

And I’m out…see you this coming week at MY SUMMER CRUSH for more workshops, shows, improv, and beer.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)