A weekend at the theatre in E-town: happy birthday Varscona, A Likely Story, Improvaganza…

Mat Hulshof, Rachel Bowron, Vincent Forcier, Jeff Haslam, Jenny McKillop in A Likely Story, Teatro La Quindicina. Photo by Mat Busby.

By Liz Nicholls 12thnight.ca

It’s the weekend in E-Town. So obviously you need to be in a theatre. Have a peek at some of your options. You could…

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Go to a theatre party. Three years ago, something dramatic happened to the topography of this theatre town: a new theatre in Old Strathcona rose from the bricks, the spirit, the memories (and the footprint) of an old one. The Varscona was Edmonton’s first new theatre in a dozen years; it had taken those 12 years for the theatre artists of its resident companies (Teatro La Quindicina, Shadow, Die-Nasty) to realize their dream.

The Varscona (10329 83 Ave.) is throwing a third birthday bash Sunday afternoon, with a celebratory mix of cake, sweet and savoury snacks, wine, and a show: entertainment from Varscona stars, with Steven Greenfield at the piano. Yes, song and dance and comedy will be involved. Teatro’s resident playwright Stewart Lemoine makes a rare appearance onstage himself in the course of the festivities. So do Plain Jane artistic director Kate Ryan and the cast of Fun Home.

The reception is at 2 p.m.; showtime is 3 p.m. And the gala tickets, at varsconatheatre.com, are all-inclusive.

Or a show. Saturday is a two-show day for Teatro’s season-opening premiere, Lemoine’s A Likely Story. Read about it, and the season HERE.

Catch some of the world’s most agile (and fearless) improvisers at work at Improvaganza, the 19th annual edition of Rapid Fire Theatre’s International and Sketch Comedy Festival. What will happen? No one knows. By definition.

Tonight, the great improviser (and archivist of nerd arcana) Mark Meer presides over the ultimate in sophisticated nerdism, with his hit brainchild Improvised Dungeons and Dragons (Zeidler Hall at the Citadel, 8 p.m.). Or catch the Festival Ensemble, an all-star team assembled from Improvaganza’s international array of troupes, who meet for the very first time on the Citadel Club stage for your entertainment (7:30 p.m.).

Or bring some of your evocative clothing items of yore to the Club at 10 p.m. And Sweater Puppies, an all-female troupe from Atlanta will undertake to use them as inspiration for both long- and short-form improvs: recycling at its most inventive. After the show, they donate the clothing to a deserving charity. Yes, your beloved cut-offs that don’t quite cover your butt can break into showbiz. 

Improvaganza tickets (and full schedule through June 22) at rapidfiretheatre.com.

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