Monthly Archives: August 2014

Last day of the Fringe: House, Bible Bill, Crack

On the last day of the Fringe, things gradually became calmer and quieter all over the site except for possibly at the south beer tent.  A few artists were still handbilling for shows later in the day.  The box office lineups were small, and there seemed to be lots of sell-out houses.  I enjoyed a sit-down breakfast (an omelette, scone, and coffee) at Café Bicyclette and a grilled-cheese lunch on the patio at the Next Act, and appreciated running into friends now that we had time to talk.

I saw four shows.  One was a repeat viewing of a friend’s show that I’ve already written about.  The others were House, Bible Bill the Gospel Musical, and Crack.  And now I’m caught up, at least for the next ten hours or so until I go see Jake Hastey’s Red Wine, French Toast, and The Best Sex You’ve Ever Had as a Fringe holdover.

House is a solo play written by Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor.  It was performed by Jon Paterson, in a relentless hammering style that immediately conveyed the character Victor’s intense angry near-obsessive nature even before he started discussing his experiences in group therapy.   He explains that some people are weird (they are born weird) and that some are fucked up (they get that way because of stuff that happens to them), and that he is just fucked up, not weird.  I would not like to have this character in my life, but I liked listening to him on stage.   As an engineer and a former engineering student and engineering educator, I was amused by the bit about Victor having wished to be an engineer because he envied the comradeship and shared pranks of groups of engineering students.

Bible Bill: the Musical, like En anglais, s’il vous plait, is a new work covering an aspect of Alberta history, sponsored by the Provincial Archives of Alberta.  Like En anglais, it showed me some history I didn’t know very well, in an easy-to-absorb personal story format.  Because I didn’t grow up in Alberta I hadn’t known very much about “Bible” Bill Aberhart and the Social Credit movement, and this show put some pieces together for me.   The performance took place in the main worship space of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, on a performance stage just outside the sanctuary/altar area.   It was set at the broadcast location of Bible Bill’s regular Sunday evening radio show, probably a church, with the various characters addressing us as the live audience.  Musical director and composer Nick Samoil played a small organ to accompany the singers and the congregational singing in which the audience was invited to join.   (Like the authentic church singing of my youth, people sang in unison, on a melody line that was pitched too high to be enjoyable for this alto.)  Kevin Mott played William Aberhart with sonorous confidence, and Laura Raboud played his supporter and friend Ernest Manning (father of Preston Manning).  Aaron Casselman was an additional narrator in the character of a radio technician, and Vanessa Wilson provided comic relief and musical entertainment as a singer engaged for the show but more accustomed to lounge singing.  I found the story and characters interesting, but I was wishing for more singing.

Crack is a new drama by Anne Marie Szucs.  It was directed by Kristen Finlay and performed at the Walterdale Theatre, which is one of my favourite Fringe venues.  Three friends gather for a weekend at a cabin to celebrate Christine (Joyce LaBriola)’s birthday.  Christine seems to be the hinge of the friendships, with Angela (Rebecca Ponting) the innocent church-going homeschooler and Pam (Anne Marie Szucs) the swearing sarcastic businesswoman both a bit jealous of Christine’s connection to the other.  As the weekend moves on and the wine bottles get emptied, the two move from distant politeness to more direct questions and criticism.    Christine and Angela both need to consider changes in their lives, and their friends’ questions and challenges help them figure out what to do.   At first I thought the actor playing Angela’s delivery was a bit stilted and monotone, but later I got to appreciate the nuances of the character’s hesitation, naïveté, kindness, and courage.  The scene where Angela leads her friends in a yoga routine, slipping naturally into a teacher role with understated authority, shifted the way I saw the character for the rest of the show.   Partway through the play, I was laughing at so many lines that were funny because they were familiar and I thought “this should be a movie!”

After Crack I took advantage of my two badges to visit the Volunteer Party and the Artist Party, and that was it.  I saw a total of 42 performances of 35 different shows, counting a couple of repeat viewings as well as watching all performances of Sonder from the audience.  I have tickets to see three holdover shows this weekend, after which I will have watched 107 theatrical performances so far in 2014.

Fringe day 8: puppetry, drama, comedy

On the second Thursday, after my volunteer shift I saw three plays.  Around then I stopped being able to keep up with my goal of posting notes every morning about what I’d seen the night before, so I’m trying to catch up now.  Thursday’s three were all good and very different.

Who Killed Gertrude Crump is a murder-mystery, an Agatha Christie pastiche set in a country house isolated by a storm around the turn of the previous century.  Ryan Gladstone wrote and directed it.  The Fringe program lists the cast as “Tara Travis and puppets”.  Tara Travis introduces the story, as Agatha Christie, and narrates everything besides the dialogue.  She moves props, dresses the set, and operates about ten puppet characters, talking directly to the audience when the puppets aren’t talking.  Her style reminded me a bit of what Ronnie Burkett does in his shows, operating marionettes while being visible and delivering witty asides to the audience as himself, and a bit of the object theatre / found object puppetry that I saw in Sapientia at Canoe Festival.

I was a little restless at the beginning.  It was a little hard for me to see the puppets well enough to learn to distinguish them, sitting at the side in the Suzanne Thibaudeau Auditorium, and several of the characters had similar enough names that I had trouble remembering who was who.  The setup seemed predictable and not very compelling.  Then it occurred to me that I had all the same complaints about a lot of Christie’s work, and that this was actually a clever tribute. The plot then thickened, and I got to feel smart for remembering some clues and I got to enjoy missing others and getting surprised.  After it was over, the performer swore the audience members to secrecy about the plot outcome.

After supper at Cafe Bicyclette, the little bilingual-service cafe in La Cite Francophone, I went to 3…2…1, by Chris Craddock and Nathan Cuckow, starring Jamie Cavanagh and Chris W. Cook.   I loved it.  It was the most emotionally intense drama I saw at this year’s Fringe, building gradually from a scene of two young men in a garage hangout determined to get drunk and high, to the awful context and significant outcomes of their bender.  At first their excesses and rowdiness were just funny, familiar like Bob and Doug, Wayne and Garth, or Dante and Randal, with a leader (Jamie Cavanagh as Clinton) and a follower (Chris Cook as Kyle).  Their reminiscences and stories of their past youth include a third character, their friend Danny who has died, and in the flashback scenes each actor takes a turn as Danny, sometimes in quick succession, using blocking cues to show us who is speaking as Danny in a three-person conversation.  Each character has different redeeming qualities and vulnerabilities, so that we see them as more than loser-caricatures.  Clinton has some loosely-Christian spiritual convictions.  Kyle is proud of how his work at Subway involves supporting people who are trying to eat more healthily or lose weight.  Both of them come from imperfect families and are somewhat trapped in their lives.   The story gets more painful, and I was crying before the end.  Chris Cook is a great tagalong sidekick, and Jamie Cavanagh was perfectly cast in the role of Clinton, as a foulmouthed drunken jerk who turns out to be a complicated tormented tragic character at the same time.

Then I wiped my eyes, got in the car, and went to change my mood at Real Time, the comedy written by Matt Alden of Rapid Fire and directed by Alden and Katie Fournell.  Thanks to the kindness of a stranger in the refreshment tent, I was able to take a friend with me even though the show had been sold out.  Jessie McPhee and Joleen Ballandine, regular Rapid Fire improvisers and two thirds of the cast of last year’s Fringe hit Excuse me … this is the truth!,  play two mismatched young people (Jessie is Billy and Joleen is Jessica) who meet playing an online game, spend time together in person, and explore the possibilities of romance.  The actors also play other parts as needed (Billy’s British mother, Jessica’s marijuana-smoking grandfather, Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, etc, all of them funny and original).  The whole thing was just charming and funny and familiar, including the customs of on-line life of ten years ago.

Gordon’s Big Bald Head, Under the Mango Tree, Sonder closing

On the day of our show Sonder‘s closing, I woke up early and rushed around with a to-do list in my head.  I ended up photocopying more programs for the show at the Strathcona Library because I didn’t have time to do them at home, for example.   We ended up giving out almost all the programs and having a nearly-full house for the last show in our successful run.  It’s been a great experience producing a show in a lottery venue at the Edmonton Fringe, and I’ve loved working with all the other artists of The ? Collective.

I also managed to fit in to my day some quiet times and conversations, some naan and some knitting and some Diet Coke.  And I saw two shows.  (I had been hoping to see Holly Cinnamon’s This is the kind of animal that I am as well, but it didn’t fit with our post-closing schedule.)

I’d never before seen Gordon’s Big Bald Head, an improv show with Jacob Banigan, Mark Meer, and Chris Craddock, but in future years I will definitely put them on my priority list.  In this show, the improvisers use a semi-random process to select one other Fringe show from the program, read out the synopsis, and then spend an hour creating and playing their version of a show that could fit that synopsis.  The show chosen this time was You Can Use That, and the synopsis mentioned a stand-up comic selling his soul to the devil.  Their version had each of them playing several characters each in different parts to the same narrative, and not very much switching out who was playing each.  I was impressed at how tightly plotted their story turned out to be.  And I laughed a lot, because these three improvisers are all very funny and clever people.

My next show was Under the Mango Tree, a solo performance inspired by the creator Veenesh Dubois’ own family history, growing up in Fiji and waiting several years with her grandparents while her father worked in Canada.   The fictional story told on stage didn’t have such a happy resolution, but it was artistically satisfying.  The performer played several characters, a grandmother, father, aunt, and baby as well as the narrator at the ages of 10, 15, 16, and I think about 21.  Her base costume was a salwar kameez, with a red scarf that she wore in various ways to portray the grandmother, a teenager, a bride, and so on, and she also changed her hairstyle effectively.  I liked her child character’s stubborn free un-self-conscious body language.

 

Fringe Day Nine: four solos and a goofy pair

I spent much of Friday going to solo shows, since I hadn’t seen many yet this Fringe.

Tonya Jone Miller wrote and performed A Story of O’s, about being a phone sex operator.   (She’s from Portland Oregon, and the apostrophe in O’s is a legitimate American style choice.)  She alternated talking to the audience as herself, and “taking calls”, wearing a headset and giving us her responses to an imaginary caller.  That was made more visually interesting and more credible by her simulating some of the actions she was claiming to be doing on the call.  She didn’t really explain how her character got started in that work and why she stayed, but many of the calls included in the show were from clients with whom there was an ongoing relationship, and for whom she was clearly an important connection in their lives.  One may surmise that it was mutual.  Late in the show a new caller asks her to describe her actual body instead of the one she is pretending to have in the ad, and she disrobes to her underpants to talk about how she feels about her body.  This was powerful, along with what we could overhear from the call about the caller’s late wife.

Jack Fry, who did They Call Me Mister Fry last year about his first year of teaching in an inner-city school, wrote and performed Einstein, in which he’s telling the story of Albert Einstein’s life as the character of Einstein (and occasionally as his wife, lover, son, or colleague).   I hadn’t known how long it took him to prove his theory of relativity by using measurements taken during eclipses.   But I did not really like the character Einstein as portrayed in the show, partly because of his misogynist comments.

Next up was Daddy Issues, written and performed by Peter Aguero.  His delivery was perfect, a non-stop slam-poet hum that built on the unrelenting turmoil of growing up with a father who had survived childhood abuse and the Vietnam war.  The story of his relationship with his father did not have a tidy resolution, either a rapprochement or a dramatic cutting-out, but the terse credible acknowledgement that neither likes the other much.  I was on the edge of my seat with tears running down my face.  I admired Peter Aguero as a performer and as a person and I would definitely see him again if I had the chance.

Then I went back to the Cabaret space for Jessica Moss’s Polly Polly.  This was in some ways the least clear narrative of the day, and I’m not completely sure I understood all the details, but I didn’t mind because she convinced me that there was a logical framework, with the premise that a solitary woman with an uninteresting life suddenly begins hearing a narrator in her head, and she sets out to find her more exciting self.  I was impressed by the way that everything about her movement and posture conveyed character choices.  And I loved the scene about attending a yoga class as part of the attempt to find herself.

Later in the evening, I squeezed in to a sold-out performance of Scratch, the improv show of Arlen Konopaki and Kevin Gillese, both former Rapid Fire performers now working in the USA.  They meet up and perform at the Edmonton Fringe every year, and have a loyal following who love the high-speed, physically-active, frequently-sexual stories that they tell in a long-form improv format.  In the show that I saw, they collected audience suggestions of an important event in someone’s life (learning to surf), an object (a teleprompter), and a Disney movie and a war movie to mash up (Aladdin and 300).  This generated several story threads and many digressions and side characters not all of whom were human.  The Princess Theatre is probably a difficult venue for improv because it’s a long thin movie theatre with a small performance area, but the performers use headset mics and a couple of rehearsal boxes to good effect.

Day seven: Rocket Sugar Improv and Dogfight

Sometimes a busy Fringe day doesn’t mean seeing lots of shows, and sometimes trying to do too many things in one day means messing up and missing the start of a show at a distant venue because of not remembering the right time or getting involved in a conversation.  I’m sorry I won’t be seeing The Real Inspector Hound after all, and I hope to catch Ask Aggie later.

Yesterday I started the day with Rocket Sugar Factory at the Telus Stage.  Improv partners Jacob Banigan and Jim Libby, based in Austria, come to Edmonton Fringe each year, and musician Jan Randall joins them and enhances their shows with playful piano and additional repartee.  The audience for the early show seemed to be full of people who had seen them before.   This year, apparently, they’re using a different improv structure in each show.  In the one I saw, they played a couple of stories, then after each they asked the audience to identify a point at which a character might have made a different decision, and then they showed an alternative ending.  One scene started with an audience member’s story about encountering a crabby lady in the grocery store.  The other started with suggestions that led to a group of teachers winning a lottery but misplacing the ticket.  One of the strengths of these two artists is the way that they will each create several characters with distinguishing body language and voice, and then the two of them will switch frequently among all those characters to keep the story moving along.   I particularly enjoyed Jim Libby’s portrayal of the perky home-ec teacher Caroline.  I also enjoyed watching the moments when one of them set up the other to do something difficult or awkward and the other did it – performing rap music, lifting the other person up, etc.

In the evening, I queued up outside Strathcona High School so that I could sit in a front-row chair for Dogfight rather than climb up the bleachers.  This was my second viewing of the Strathcona Alumni Theatre’s production of the 2012 musical by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, directed as usual by Linette Smith.  Most of the show is set one evening in 1963, in San Francisco, where a small group of  young US Marines has their last night of leave for departing for Okinawa and eventually Vietnam.  At the start, end, and intermission, there are also framing scenes showing the main character (Chris Scott as Eddie Birdlace) returning from Vietnam some years later and seeking out the girl he met that night (Emmy Kate Whitehead as Rose Fenny).

That one-line description could easily fit most conventional wartime-romance stories, but this one is different in some disturbing and refreshing ways.  Disturbing, because boy meets girl happens because of a dogfight, a competition among Marines to bring the ugliest girl to a party.  And refreshing, because the shy awkward nominally-unattractive girl Rose takes some control in the situation, calling the Marines out on their appalling behaviour in a way that makes the audience cheer, expressing anti-Vietnam-war concerns in a way appropriate to 1963, and telling him afterwards that she hadn’t been waiting for him.  I was also pleased that it avoided the period-piece tropes of having the young woman be coerced into sex and getting pregnant by a more experienced male partner.  It was clear to this modern feminist viewer that except for having been tricked into attending the dogfight, she wasn’t doing anything that she didn’t choose to do.  His contraceptive precautions were explicit, and his acknowledgement that it was new to him too won the audience over with a round of awws, while we watched Rose’s face receiving this unexpected but touching gift.

Emmy Kate Whitehead and Chris Scott both impressed me with the way they met the singing and acting demands of the lead roles.  Sydney Williams was heartbreaking as the streetwise prostitute Marcia and had a beautiful solo later as another character.  Kyle Thulien played several small roles (sergeant, drag nun, snooty waiter) and was spot-on as a sketchy lounge singer.  Gabe Richardson’s character Ralphie Boland was a nasty piece of work and Gabe added a swagger and a smirk that made me shudder.

The musical ensemble, under the direction of Matt Graham, was good, and the sound was well-balanced so that I could hear all the words.   The choreography was fun to watch and suitable to the story, especially the chair choreography (in unison, in army boots, by Scott, Richardson, Aidan Burke, Alex Aoki, Jordan Mah, Evans Kwak, and Michael Vetsch) and the impressions-of-war scene.   Jocelyn Feltham played Rose’s mother with gentle concern and no overplayed fuss.

There were two things I didn’t like about this show.  It ran overtime in both performances I saw, finishing at about 10:20pm rather than the published time of 10:00, and that is frustrating on a busy Fringe evening.  I don’t know whether a correction had been posted at the info tents, but it’s not on the Fringe website and wasn’t posted at the venue or in the program.  I will keep buying tickets ahead of time and driving down to Strathcona High School to see whatever challenging modern musical this company produces in future years, because they are good and they are local.  I would keep going even if the shows were three hours long.  But I want to know ahead of time.   I also didn’t feel comfortable with the stereotypical aboriginal character Ruth Two Bears (Olivia Aubin), shuffling and drinking stone-faced in buckskin and braids.  I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the portrayal in this production was toned down from earlier productions elsewhere, but it still made me wince.

Dogfight is, of course, sold out for the balance of its run.  Last year an additional performance of Rent was announced for the final weekend, but I think it was announced midweek.

Our show Sonder was not sold out the last time I checked.  We perform this afternoon (Thursday) at 4:00 pm, and Saturday at 6:45 pm.  We’re at King Edward School, an easy walk across a playground from the main Fringe grounds and in a neighbourhood with some free parking, and running time is just under an hour.

Two new Alberta works: En anglais, sil vous plaît, and Fugly.

I only watched two shows yesterday, with a long beer-tent volunteer shift and some other Fringe hanging out in between.  I enjoyed the cooler weather.  Not so much this morning’s rain, but it’s not supposed to last.

En Anglais, s’il vous plaît, at the Strathcona Library, is a new play written by local actor Vincent Forcier, starring Kristi Hansen, Steve Jodoin, and Ian Leung.  It’s performed partly in French and partly in English, with all the French being translated in supertitles projected above the stage.  I like to think that I didn’t need the supertitles at all, but I can reassure you that they were easy to see without being distracted from the story. 

Because I haven’t lived in Alberta very long, and because my study of French and exposure to francophone community was mostly in Ontario and eastern Canada, I didn’t know much at all about the history and politics of francophone Alberta.  I found this play fascinating.  It interwove the familiar story of a typical young Alberta couple, Amour (Steve Jodoin), raised by francophone parents and attending French schools, and Douce (Kristi Hansen), of Ukrainian background and grown up in an English milieu, with the political narrative of Leo Paquette, the first Alberta MLA to speak in the legislature in French.  Ian Leung played Leo Paquette and also played Amour’s father.  As the narrator addressing the audience at the start, he speaks clearly and slowly in French and in code-switched French and English, engaging the cautious audience and reassuring us that we’d be able to follow.  As M. Paquette, his formal speeches in the legislature are equally clear.  And when he shifts to playing Amour’s father, resentful of his Anglophone daughter-in-law, his speech is much faster and more idiomatic.  I had to work to understand him and it was easy to put myself in Douce’s place, feeling unwelcome and unappreciated for the effort I’d been making.

There were clear parallels between M. Paquette’s political initiatives and his determination not to apologize for exercising his rights in order not to set a precedent diminishing those rights, and Amour’s ongoing efforts at home to get his wife to speak enough French to expose their future child to the language.  “I’m pissed off that it’s easier for you!”, she exclaims, illustrating some common misconceptions of language-majority privilege.  I was surprised that the political story took place as recently as 1986.  One of my favourite parts of the play was the scene where Leo Paquette is in the legislature, addressing the Speaker of the House (played by Kristi Hansen) and Steve Jodoin is playing all the other MLAs addressing the house, each with his or her own facial expressions, accents, and voices.

At the end of the night, I went to C103 to see Fugly.   Their show programs are attached to wooden sticks so that you can use them as fans more easily, which is clever in warm weather in C103.  Returning the fan/program meant that I can’t tell you for sure who was playing which character, but the Fringe program has Joleen Ceraldi, Heather Falk, and Helen Knight, in a company from Calgary called The Janes.  The elliptical storytelling in a fantasy setting seemed to be conveying the story of a woman who is searching for her mind, while caught up in various encounters with body image and conformist expectations.  The sharp lines and clear colours of the design helped to build the not-quite-real world full of mirrors.  The rhymed couplets at the start of the performance cued me immediately that this was going to be some kind of allegory or poetic impression rather than a more natural dialogue in which I should understand everything immediately.  This made me more comfortable with just watching.

Tonight is Sonder‘s turn for a late-night performance (11:30 pm at King Edward School).   The Edmonton Journal gave us 3.5 stars, with “Kudos to the high-energy cast who deal with some pretty intense material, using mime, movement and minimal props”.  We have two more shows after tonight: Thursday at 4 pm and Saturday at 6:45pm.

Stories and songs

After an early performance of Sonder at King Edward School, I saw four more shows yesterday, all of them with a focus on story.

Little Monsters, written and directed by Kristen Finlay at the Walterdale Theatre, is the subtle and familiar story of a mother who is determined to do the best for her child, and how that understandable conviction can lead to some imbalance and unhappiness.  It wasn’t quite the story that I was expecting and I liked it better for that.  Erin Foster-O’Riordan was very believable as the earnest mother, not overplaying or ridiculous.  Cory Christensen and Julie Sinclair as her husband and her best friend had smaller parts in the story, but each brought his or her own issues to the encounters, as we saw gradually.  Anne-Marie Szucs played the uncompromising preschool director with intimidatingly still body language.   The Fringe-style simple set and lighting cues created an office, a living space at home, a parent-viewing room at the preschool, and a park bench.   I loved the line about the expectant mother only feeling perfect until other people knew her secret and started giving her advice.

The one thing I didn’t enjoy about the experience of watching this play had nothing to do with what was unfolding on stage.  In choosing a seat near the action, I had unwittingly chosen one that squeaked with every small shift in movement, so my seat kept making noise and nearby patrons kept looking at me.  I wish someone would either fix that seat or discourage people from sitting in it.

Sundogs, by Michaela Jeffery, directed by Louise Large, is playing in the small proscenium space of the Telus Building.  Holly Cinnamon was compelling as a slightly-out-of-control woman living alone on a farm, first encountered wearing a white cotton nightgown and rubber boots.  Police officer Mike (Evan Hall, also in Letters to Laura) and book acquisitions editor Dan (Brendan Thompson, also in Kurt Man buyer and seller of souls) each visit her to discuss some disturbing events that happened recently, and as their visits occur we find out more about her life.  Something about the sequence of the various scenes did not fall into place for me until later in the story.  I can never decide whether that pleases me as the narrative catches me by surprise and suddenly makes a different kind of sense, or whether I feel foolish for not catching on earlier.  This play had the most convincing and horrifying example of the consequences of living surrounded by clutter and hoarded possessions that I have ever heard or read, and it made me think anxiously about the boxes I’ve moved to the edges of all my rooms to make space for actors to sleep this week.  I hope to be able to see Holly Cinnamon’s original solo performance This is the kind of animal that I am later in the week.

I had not seen Bruce Horak’s This is Cancer before, although it had played at Edmonton Fringe a few years ago.  It’s … disturbing but in an aesthetically satisfying way.  Bruce Horak plays the title role in costume and makeup that are both eye-catchingly sparkly and nastily damaged.  Dave Horak (director of Fatboy and Bombitty of Errors, actor in Kill Me Now, and Bruce’s brother) plays Cancer’s stage assistant.  There is some singing.  There is a very gentle poke at the cancer-fundraising industry.  There is a chance for a few audience members to insert obituaries for dead loved ones.  There are some other forms of audience interaction some easier than others.   As with most performances that have an actor personifying something horrible like Death or the Devil, I found myself torn between liking the personification and wanting him to have a bad outcome.  I wondered how the show would manage to reconcile those, and I was moved to tears by the way the ending put the narrative on the side of life and health.  Those whose cancer connection is more recent or ongoing might have found it a bit too facile for their truth, but for me it worked well enough to start breathing easily again.  There is a short question and answer period afterwards with the performers out of costume.

Going from This is Cancer to Off Book the Musical was a bit emotionally disruptive.  But the performance of Off Book was well worth the warm stickiness of a full house at C103.   Leif Ingebrigsten accompanied on piano as Matt Alden, Amy Shostak, Hunter Cardinal, Joleen Ballandine, Vince Forcier, and Kory Matheson created and performed an hour-long musical based on audience suggestions of “a wedding” and “a discount warehouse store”, using four rehearsal boxes as the only visible props.  The main characters’ problems were both compelling and amusing.  The mayor (Matt Alden) wants to marry Mary (Joleen Ballandine) as well as winning an election, but she’s been married four times before, avoided finalising any of the divorces, and considers herself unmarriable.  Side plots involve a discount warehouse going out of business (major improv points to Hunter Cardinal who tied up that loose thread of plot right at the end when I had almost forgotten it), and a little boy (Vince Forcier) asking his parents (Amy Shostak and Kory Matheson) how to respond to a proposal he’s received on the playground.  There was a little bit of dance, and songs created in a wide range of styles including rap.   Off Book also plays frequently at the Rapid Fire Theatre Saturday night CHiMPROV longform shows during the season, but if you like musical improv you should definitely try to catch a show at the Fringe.