Between my beer tent shift and getting ready for Sonder’s evening show, I fitted in two performances Sunday afternoon.
Harold of Galactus is a longform improv show with local improv stars Chris Craddock and Mark Meer. (“Harold” is the name of a common thematic longform improv structure, and Galactus is a comic-book character). In the show I saw, the performers asked an audience member for the name of a comic-book superhero, and a front-row fan said he’d once made up one called Mortar. Chris and Mark then had a brief conversation on stage about comic-book tropes and how they might play out for a superhero called Mortar, and then created a series of scenes and stories about the character and how he’d be portrayed in the different eras of comics, from 1942 to near-contemporary. This let the audience have the fun of noticing all the quirks of Golden Age comic stories (“Is Hitler a hero because he killed Hitler? But he also killed the guy who killed Hitler!”) and the tropes of more recent comic-book storytelling (a sidekick who is invincible but nervous, very few women except the occasional supervillain, a league of criminals, and so on), bouncing between eras and landing at a satisfying resolution just before the time was up. I love watching improv partners who have played together for a long time, because they pick up on each other’s cues so smoothly they seem to be telepathic. Later in the week I have tickets for Rocket Sugar Factory (Jacob Banigan and Jim Libby) and for Scratch (Arlen Konopaki and Kevin Gillese), so I will get to admire that some more. Chris Craddock occasionally fell out of character to grin at what was happening, which did not distract me from the story and just added to the sense of the performers having fun that is a mark of good improv. Fun and clever.
Then I managed to slip out quickly, dodge crowds, and get from Strathcona Library to King Edward School in 15 minutes to see Godzilla vs. Led Zeppelin, an hour-long performance of taiko drumming from Fubuki Daiko, an ensemble of four amazing drummers from Winnipeg, Hiroshi Koshiyama, Bruce Robertson, Naomi Guilbert, and Giselle Mak. They were as exciting to watch as they were to listen to, and the show I saw was sold out.
Sonder’s next show is today, Monday at 12:15 pm, and the next one after that is Wednesday at 11:30 pm, both at Venue #5, King Edward School.