If you’ve never been to Rapid Fire Theatre’s annual Improvaganza, consider this your official invitation. Over the past 14 years, Improvaganza has become Edmonton’s leading alternative comedy festival and one of Canada’s longest running Improv Comedy based festivals.
As someone who’s performed with Rapid Fire since I was 16 years old (I am definitely not now 38 years old and definitely suggest you don’t do the math here) I wanted to give you my insider’s perspective on why you should check this festival out.
REASON #1: INTERNATIONAL FLAVOUR
You get to experience the comedic and theatrical stylings of folks from all over the world. This year, we’re talking about Atlanta, Germany, Rome, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Bogota, and Los Angeles.
Four acts I highly recommend you catch are:
BENJAMINS (Vancouver) – 10 p.m. Saturday, June 21 – I saw their showcase at the Vancouver festival, and it blew me away. Four women who are extremely mischievous, played interesting scenes, and were overall killer.
I BUGIARDINI (Rome) – 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 24 – performing a silent movie in their showcase
SOLO SETS: LUSTY MISTRESS & MUTE – 10 p.m. on Thursday, June 26 – Kirsten Rasmussen (Toronto) will perform a character-inspired solo improv set, and Beto Urrea (Bogota) will perform a silent, physical theatre-inspired solo improv set. Huge risk — both extremely talented.
10 SPEED – 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 21 – 10-minute sets from the world’s best, but once 10 minutes is up, your set is interrupted by wild pranks (live crabs scuttling on stage, water balloons being thrown, etc) . The show features: Pepita (solo improv from NYC), Dad’s Garage (Atlanta), Easy Action (Montreal), Dot Dot Dot (RFT), and is directed by Tom Hill and Devin Mackenzie of Hip.Bang!
REASON #2: CUTTING-EDGE STAND-UP COMICS
Kurt Braunohler and Katie Crown are both emerging stand up comedians. Catch ’em now before they get their own TV deals. Or Netflix. They could get a Netflix deal. And then they’ll feel so close to you for a few days. But then even further away. Beat the technology curve.
REASON #3: LEARN IMPROV FROM THE PROS
You can sign up for public workshops with no experience require. This is an incredibly rare opportunity as it may be years before some of these performers make it back to Edmonton. Or never. That’s the longest time.
REASON #4: LAUGHTER COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE
7-benefits-laughter. Or maybe the life of someone you love. Give the gift of life. #realtalk
REASON #5: DON IVESON
Last Friday (June 19), Mayor Don Iveson performed on stage. Any festival cool enough to lure the coolest mayor on stage? Cool festival. Remember back when he was #saddoniveson? He ain’t sad no more. Because of our festival. You’re welcome Edmonton.
REASON #6: OLD FAVOURITES
Rapid Fire’s friends THE SUNDAY SERVICE and DAD’S GARAGE are festival stand-bys. You can catch your favourite Rapid Fire acts too: Fringe-heroes HAROLD OF GALACTUS, Science nerds 6 DEGREES OF SCIENCE, and Matt Schuurman’s NIGHTMARE: The Video Improv Game. You will see that Rapid Fire really is one of the world’s top improv comedy companies.
REASON #7: BEST SECOND DATE EVER
If you’ve been meaning to impress that certain someone, you can’t do much better than a comedy show with performers your date will never have seen before. You will seem super cool for having the hook-up to this festival. But remember, first dates are all about getting to know them. Do not bring a first date to this show.
REASON #8: A PERFORMER-RESPECTED FESTIVAL
Performers love this festival. I hear time and again how this is one of their favourite festivals to perform at. Why? It’s 10 days long which really lets performers settle into a groove, they get opportunities to workshop with each other and perform with each other onstage which is what they really want to do. Every night RFT hosts sweet parties and outings for them. And when they arrive there’s a six-pack of beer on their pillow. Is this a festival? I’d call it the Bestival. What this means for you is well fed, slightly hungover but extremely happy performers who are going to give you their best.
REASON #9: KIRSTEN RASMUSSEN IS BACK!
Rapid Fire alumnus, now in Toronto is back in town. Boom. Girl be funny as hell.
REASON #10: TEN DAYS
You’ve still got a solid week to catch shows. And so many shows! You can see the full schedule here and below.