Sylvan Lakers had their very on professional musical crafted around their lives.
On Saturday, February 4 – Theatre Alberta brought their improvisation musical ‘The 11 o’Clock Number’ to the Sylvan Lake Community Centre. Lakers were allowed to cast their own ideas and volunteered to be the focal point of musical improvisation right on the spot.
“We get suggestions from the audience and then we write a musical on the spot based on those suggestions,” Tour Manager and actress Rachel Kent said. “With this particular version of our show “Life As A Musical” – we base the story on the life of someone in the audience. We make a musical about their life. It is 100 percent improvised.”
The entire show is 100 percent original, with the only rehearsed sequence being the shows theme song.
“Every single idea comes from the audience as well as the inspiration for our musician, Paul Morgan Donald who makes up the music along with us while we make up the lyrics,” Kent said. “The 11 O’Clock Number has been running since 2012, so we are in our fifth season.”
Despite the cast’s seasoning, the nerves of improvisation still come into effect.
“I still feel like I am going to throw up right before I go on stage,” Kent said. “It does get easier because you learn to trust the people you are improvising with. It is all about sharing and supporting each other. You are only as good as the people you are on stage with.”
The show, which performs every Friday night at the Grindstone Theatre in Edmonton is part of an initiative by Theatre Alberta to take some of their most successful Edmonton Fringe Festival, Albertan-made shows on the road throughout the Province.
This initiative has been wildly successful according to Theatre Alberta Tour Coordinator Liz Hobbs.
“It is fun and super challenging,” she said. “Everywhere we go is a completely different venue. The response is always super fun. This is the third year of Fringe shows and taking them on the road. They’ve been received very well.”
The shows have seen great success in rural communities, something Kent attributed to the lack of theatrical options in smaller centres.
“We find that the audiences are much more enthusiastic,” she said. “They’re open-minded and they’re excited to see a show. Sometimes people in larger centers can be so used to seeing all sorts of shows so it’s nice to come to places where people are so open hearted and want to be involved with the show having fun.”
The show requires very little prep and stage work, meaning that it’s very suitable for life on the road, according to Hobbs.
“Because of the nature of Fringe shows, they’re really easy to do in almost any space,” she said. You don’t have to have a big budget or a gigantic theatre to put them.”
Kent hopes Lakers will continue to support their shows in the future and hopes they left the audience with good feelings.
“Hopefully sore abdomens from laughing so hard and a sense of awe,” she said.
Hobbs added “thanks so much to Sylvan Lake for having us out.”