September has hit and the feeling of “back to school” came with it. And tonight we would be living it at “Vancouver Theatre Sports League”.

We planned the evening around our live show, and to get us in the mood started with happy hour and some drinks at local Granville Island restaurants. Already pretty funny, drinking does help along the experience. It gets you to let your guard down and get into the participation process of the night. Especially helpful for myself, as for the first time I volunteered to be part of a skit; and I was asked to be one of the judges for the entire show. One of three with laminated numbers ranking the performers on their comedy. One being the lowest, 5 the highest.

The stage is set up as the halls of a school. A grey backdrop with metallic gears bathed in neon lights. Our host was the gym teacher. He introduced himself and set the tone for the evening. Two rival teams, two different cliche high school cliques. Both completing in the following improv games, with the goal of winning a fictitious $100 prize. The “rebels” who were “too cool for school”, and more concerned with repairing motorcycles than anything else. And the glee club with an ambitious leader, that lead her trio in cappellas that reflected their situation. As great as these two group and there actors were, be warned each night is a different cast, with different characteristics. Similarly, all the games would be different. Therefore you needn’t worry too much about spoilers here.

Different from night to night and from last year’s rendition. Tonight’s competitions included a game where the audience suggests themes and the actors play off of it, scenes where our improvers sang their made up lines, and one where they popped on and off stage depending on the noise that rang. Here, they had to find a reason why they left or came back to the scene. One of the funniest was when one actor changed his character’s emotion based upon another’s request. Excitement, anger, sadness, and uglier sadness. This one had me tearing up.

The one I was a apart of had me standing on stage, adlibbing words into the actor’s conversations, when I was pointed to. One word responses like “scab” and “turtle” (which I actually used and was not an easy fit in to their “crime scene” scene) Although speaking from experience, it is hard to keep it one word at a time. I found myself offering phrases and the improvers rolling with it, but commenting on the fact that it was two or three words long. This added to the laugher from the audience.

In short, a great night. I have yet to be disappointed by any of the “Vancouver Theatre Sports” improv performances! So, if the fall weather and the thought of “going back to school“ has you down, I definitely suggest taking a trip down to Granville Island and laughing until you cry; helped along with wine from their in house bar (true story). For show times and how to get your tickets visit the link below.

Neil Macrae Bar & Lounge
1502 Duranleau Street, Granville Island