Toronto - Saturday

Fuzzy squintsSaturday morning, Beth and I were crawling out of our resective beds at noonish and contemplating the notion of breakfast when Shaun returned from a "run" on the hotel treadmill (he's training for the Chicago Marathon) and announced that he had remembered that Neutrino was scheduled for a tech time of 1:00 pm. Shaun and I had agreed to run tech for the Neutrino Video Projects, which as far as we knew was still scheduled for that evening. So, it was all hurry-shower and hurry-cab to the theater.

Where, hoo-ray, Neutrino was, indeed, waiting for us to show up. We've all done the show many times, so the tech set up isn't that hard, but it's always fun learning a new sound board. And I realised that I had left my bag-of-many-adapters back in Chicago, which made hooking up the Neutrino gear to the sound board a bit of a challenge. I ended up having to unhook the theater's CD player to get my setup to work. Which meant that I had to disassemble my setup so that other groups could tech, since nearly everyone else needed to use the CD player.

Which also made me note that the festival had, for whatever good reason, scheduled the three tech-heaviest shows all in a row. Most improv shows (like Bare, for example) have almost no technical requirements. Lights up at the beginning of the show, play a song while the group comes out, lights out at the end of the show. Neutrino Video Projects, the Beat Box, and Andy Eninger's One Man Seen all use lots of tech. Boxes of tech. Metric tonnes of tech. Oh well.

We dashed back to the hotel to get our show clothes, because Bare had been scheduled to a 10:30 mainstage slot that night, and then back to the theater.

The Neutrino show was nerve-wracking. From what we could see on screen, the actors all slipped into the form just fine, which was great considering that 4 of 7 actors in the show were sit-ins (Joe Bill, Adrienne Frost, Ted Hallett, and Tabetha Wells all jumped into the NVP). And the camera work was delightful. But after some tight timing, we hit a tape that was playing with jerky video and no sound. We stuck it in the other camera and it played fine, which made us figure that camera was bad. So we started using just the one camera to play the tapes. And then we hit a tape that wouldn't play in either camera. We were, I'll think it's safe to say, freaking out. Dan even brought in the camera it had been filmed on and it wouldn't play. Freak out city!

So after the show, everyone's saying "great job in the booth" and so on. Were they just being polite? Did they not notice that silent scene snippet we saw three times? Did they think it was experimental video? Or is the power of seeing the NVP for the first time ("They just made that movie right now. Pop. My mind just exploded.") so overwhelming that they really didn't notice?

Oh, and when the cast started watching the tape of the show (I tape the show. That is made up of tapes. Work that around in your mind for a while) the first thing I noticed was that I had misspelled Ptolemy's name in the credits. Sorry, Ptolemy.

So anyway, right when Neutrino ended, I had to rip half of my tech set-up apart so that The Beatbox could use the CD player. Then we had 30 seconds to breathe before Shaun had to run Andy's tech and I video-taped his show. And then, pant, pant, it was time for Bare.

Just a few weeks before the festival, we had finally gotten ahold of Joey "Accordion Guy" deVilla and secured his services as an accompanist for our show. Unfortunately, with the power outage and our show getting moved to Saturday, Joey was out of town at a wedding. Which meant that we had to rely on our own skills as improvisors to carry the show. We were doomed!

Well, except for the part where we're wicked awesome improvisors. We did our "Pagaent of History" form, where we do the life story of a famous person. We did Lincoln (the first suggestion we heard was Wellington, which I sadly had to turn down, because everything I know about Wellington is what I'm misremembering about Nelson). Lincoln, it turns out, was the child of a troll from the future. His most decisive moment was his momentous battle against a 40-foot tall Douglas (whom we wisely left un-first-named, because neither of us could remember "Stephen". I wanted to say "Frederick," but I knew that wasn't right).

So, I think the show went well. After our show, we were trapped backstage during the Johnny Lunchpail set. There's a door that leads outside from the backstage of the Poor Alex, but Shaun he was warned that horrible things would happen if we tried to go out that way. The only other exit from backstage was the stage. so we watched Johnny Lunchpail from a crack in the curtain. Physical is the word for those boys. Blue shirts, and physical.

As soon as we were free, I ran upstairs to catch Men in Shirts on the Cabaret Stage. Soon after their show, the rest of the festival came upstairs and we danced the night away. Hoo-ray for the night.