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Improv Shmimprov's 'theatre without a net' show set for Nov. 23

Prince George Improv Shmimprov troupe member Mark Wheeler calls improv 'theatre without a net'. What a perfect way to describe what takes place when those on stage ask for suggestions from the audience.
Improv Shmimprov, Live Theatre Games, goes Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. at Deadfall Brewing.

An in-person audience will see Improv Shmimprov, Live Theatre Games, at Deadfall Brewing Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. after a two-year-long pandemic break.

There’s only 30 tickets to be sold to the small-venue show but the fun is as big as ever.

Watch the performers take on the challenge as they play theatre games based on audience suggestions.

There’s a core group of people who will be on stage including Stephen St. Laurent, who is the ring master, Scott McKay, Allan Dawson, Mark Wheeler and joining the regulars on stage for this show are Marissa Alexander and Nick Ebbadi-Cook.

“This might be Nick's first time on stage with us – he’s done some of the Zoom shows that we were trying to perform during the pandemic but yeah, I’ve been rehearsing with this group of people for the last couple of years now and we’re still having fun with it,” Wheeler said.

“For what Zoom is and what it was – it was good. The pandemic forced us to try something different. It was a way for us to continue to stay in contact with people but I do believe – like everyone else – we suffered from Zoom fatigue because for those of us with day jobs we had to do Zoom meetings and then you’d go home to Zoom friends and family and then we were doing rehearsals over that and then every six weeks or so we were performing so it was a lot. I think it was good to keep those muscles working but you are limited for improv for what you can do because there are physical aspects to it that you can’t get across on the screen.”

The Improv Shmimprov are live shows that require audience participation.

“We’ll be asking for ideas because as it is with improv there’s no script, it’s theatre without a net,” Wheeler said. “The humour comes from what our audience wants to see. We’ll provide the game, you provide us with the ideas.”

Inawithawhat seems to be a crowd favourite, he added.

Here’s the breakdown.

“So one actor is in a place with a person or a profession and an object and then you have to explain your inawithawhat to the next player who comes in and the catch is you can’t explain it in English, you have to do it through physical activity and gibberish,” Wheeler explained.

Another good one is Blind Freeze, Wheeler noted.

“It starts off with two actors and we get a problem, situation or theme from the audience and we just start acting out the scene from the suggestion that we get,” Wheeler said. “Then our ring master calls freeze and another performer has to take the place of one of the actors in whatever convoluted situation or position they have found themselves in and then you start a whole new scene that has nothing to do with what just happened. It’s a fairly rapid fire game and it requires us all to think on our feet.”

Sounds like a lot of fun.

“It is for us!” Wheeler said. “And a laugh is a laugh is a laugh whether you’re laughing with us or at us. With everything that’s happened in the last two years we’re just happy to be back in front of an audience, we’re happy to try and bring some joy, some laughter, some absurdity and we hope you can come out and see us.”

The show goes Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 each at Deadfall Brewing, 1733 Nicholson Street.