Our friend Naomi, one of the founders of The National Theatre Of The World, asked me if I wanted to join in any of the shows. I kept an open mind about it and decided I would wait to see how I felt when I got there. We blogged about them before so please check out that old post for the full concept of who they are.
Along with the Script Tease Project and Carnegie Hall, they also do Impromptu Splendor, which is what they were doing in the Yukon. Far away from home and without the pressure of people I might know in the audience, I decided to do the all three shows under the Impromptu Splendor banner, and it was a great decision. Impromptu Splendor works this way. Each night the troupe improvises a play in the style of a famous playwright, and for the Yukon tour, they were doing Anton Chekov, Tennessee Williams, and David Mamet. Let me tell you for nothing that it is the most exhilarating project. I had only done one with them before in Toronto and it was in the style of Noel Coward. It was a blast and so me being me, I decided I best leave well enough alone. But lately in my quest to challenge myself to do that which I fear, I went with it whole hog! It was such fun and all that improv should be. In a supportive atmosphere, anything in life is satisfying, isn’t it? Naomi Snieckus, Mike Fly, Colin Mochrie and Deb McGrath were the improvisers for this trip! With a nod to my worn voice, (having done a mini-tour with my husband for our new show together—more to come on that) and the fact that I am not great with the impov games at this point in my unpracticed improv career, I chose to only do act one: the plays. No regrets there, as I sat in the green room wine in hand, laughing and loving them in act two. When we landed in the Yukon after a full-day two flights of travel, Naomi got right off the plane and conducted impov workshops that day and the next. Out of the workshops she chose some local improvisers to join in the games-set every night with great results. Not only did we get to see them perform, but we got to know their lovely selves a little.
The company was brought to Whitehorse by Eric Epstein who acts as both talent scout and host, excelling at both and traveling around to find wonderful artists to grace his stage at the Yukon Centre of the Arts. Let me tell you, it is an artistic community. They have an enviable and vibrant artistic scene and we look forward to a time when we can go back again and be a part of it. The audiences are smart and well-versed in what they are seeing. It was a privilege to perform for them.
As for the Yukon itself, stunning, friendly, air as cold and pure as the air in year one. When crossing the road as pedestrians, were treated to drivers who stopped if we even looked like we were thinking about crossing the road. We ate lots of good food, but became regulars at a wonderful spot called BurntToast, boasting a fab menu and lovely, young hipsters with warm and welcoming demeanors.
We are coming back Yukon. You can’t keep all that lovely to yourselves.
Barbara: I’ve seen a few Impromptu Splendor shows here in Toronto. I’ve been waiting for us to blog about them—because they ROCK! I mean, there is nothing quite like the experience of watching a recognizable shape and sound of a show (ie, David Mamet-inspired) and howling with laughter at the genius of these improvisers capturing it in the moment, absolutely making it up as they go along, and creating compelling story and character arcs. I wish I could’ve been there to share it with you: both the shows (and by "share", I mean "watch") and the Yukon. Wonderful!