30 hours of non-stop sleep-deprived fun

By Preston Haffey

Loose Moose Theater has been entertaining Calgary since its formation in 1977. As well as hitting the local scene, the group has travelled across Canada and around the world, gaining renown for innovation and excellence in improvisational comedy. Loose Moose will raise the bar in their unique genre even further when they host a 30-hour Impro Challenge featuring non-stop, sleep-deprived improvisational thea- ter which will certainly create some entertaining results.

“The improv challenge is something where we’re going to take about seven people and they’re going to be on stage for 30 hours at the theater,” says Josh Bertwistle, one of the performers. “And they’re going to improvise some improvise theater for 30 hours in a row.”

At the 30-hour Challenge, the Loose Moose performers will present their comedic talents in different and unique ways to keep the show fresh and exciting. Since it is 30 hours, the Moosers are plumbing the depth of their improv event knowledge. They will be playing theatersports — designed to get the audience cheering and involved with the actual performances — as well as employing many other familiar formats used by the group. They’re also using some specially designed formats just for the event.

“We’re going to start out with the two big shows, theatersports and maestro basically, and then about midnight there’s a midnight talk show,” says Bertwistle. “We have invited other improv groups in the city to come in [and perform]. There’s a sexy hour really late at night, there’s a breakfast show from 7-9 [Saturday morning and] there’s an after school special hour. So hopefully those different formats inspire us.”

While trying to conjure the relaxed feel that Improvisational Theater is all about, the different performers will be put through some challenges to keep them on their toes and test their wakefullness.

“Balancing on head, running, multiplication tables,” says Bertwistle. “Stuff to test you physically, and psychologically, and mentally. The whole point of improv is to just be relaxed, it’s not about trying to make jokes or be funny. You know when you’re sitting around with your friends and it’s late at night and you’re just bullshitting about whatever,” he continues. “Everyone is saying the best things and no one is trying too hard. Good stuff comes from it.”

The challenge offers a rare chance to see the performers of the Loose Moose Theater group at their best — or most sleep-deprived, as the case maybe.

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