As last night's second Mprov show came to a close, this year's edition of The Montreal Improv Festival got its first standing ovation.
Stephen Wilder, from Denver, Colorado, makes up both of the Wilders in the musical improv act, Wilder and Wilder. As he wrapped up the final set of Mprov's 10 PM show last night, the crowd was on its feet in seconds. And with good reason: Wilder's (and his musical accompanist's) performance was a solo improv tour-de-force not seen at Mprov since Chicagoan Andy Eninger's one man improv extravaganza at last year's fest.
And did I mention it was a musical?
With two shows and six acts on stage last night, there is plenty of amazing improv to write about today. But, seeing as most people don't have 7.2 hours to devote to reading my blog, I will try and be brief...ish.
I had a blast opening the first show with On The Spot Improv. We did our popular 15 in 30 format which Hour Magazine described as "manic". And, yes, me and the other Spotters did manage to squeeze 15 scenes into 30 minutes. Of course, I'm a little too biased to comment but people who are not me told me it was a great show.
Local improv anchors, Uncalled For, gave a us another improvised adventure of the super group, Disaster Squad. This time around, superheroes known as Tranquilizer and McClintock: The Shipbuilder battled a robot uprising while managing to keep the name of their group straight.
The Jam showcased one of the one wonderfully unique features of improv festivals that I absolutely love: incredibly talented players from different troupes, cities and backgrounds playing together in a hysterical one shot only performance that will never ever be repeated again in the annals of exaggerated improv hyperbole.
That was just the early show.
The late show opened up with the uberly energetic Outside Joke from Winnipeg performing a high powered, poignant improvised musical about sex, death and cheap hospital french fries. It was all part of a format the troupe referred to as an Anti-Musical. I'm not sure what that is exactly. All I know is that, Cap'n, you canna mix the Musical and the Anti-Musical or the whole theatre will go up in an explosion the size of a super nova.
Speaking (as I was about five lines back) of death, the next act was New York City's Dearly Beloved. These guys pushed the improv envelope to new and previously unthought of boundaries. Working from an actual name randomly chosen from yesterday's obituary page in The Gazette, DB improvised not only the wake for but the entire life story of the deceased. Definitely a lot more more risky than taking your usual "Spatula" and "proctologist" suggestions. It was a risk that paid off for the edgy New York troupe big time.
The late showed wrapped up where this blog began.
The Mprov after party followed. As did the Mprov tradition of 4 AM poutine, which I must admit, I ducked out on at the last minute. I did so in favour of an attempt to recapture my youth by riding night buses clear across the city with large groups of drunken teenagers in a desperate bid to get home before sunrise.
If you're reading this blog around the time I post it, you still have time to catch the Sex T. Rex and Outside Joke improv workshops at Mainline Theatre at 2:30 PM today. Learn from the best, I always say.
Tonight, after the annual Mprov participants dinner, I will be hosting and performing in the penultimate and final Mprov shows respectively. Followed, of course, by the after party.
I think I'll pass on the night buses and the drunken teenagers time around.