Sep. 12, 2012 - Issue #882: Down On The Farm
Now in its 20th year, the annual Die-Nasty Soap-A-Thon has evolved from a quirky, incredulity-prompting sleep deprivation experiment into a much-anticipated, finely crafted improv show. Die-Nasty is an Edmonton theatre institution, held weekly on Monday evenings at the Varscona for over two decades. The Soap-A-Thon, which delivers 50 straight hours of improv over one weekend, was established in 1992 as their annual fundraiser.
"It's great just to drop in every now and then; you don't have to see the whole 50 hours," says Davina Stewart, cast member of the Soap-A-Thon and Die-Nasty regular. "It's kinda how it happens with a TV show when you have the box set: you just keep wanting to put the next one in, and the next one in, and then you go, 'Oh god it's four in the morning.'"
This year the Soap-A-Thon is based on the world of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire–or Game of Thrones, for those only familiar with the hit HBO show. In many respects, this world is perfect for the Soap-A-Thon—not only does it feature a huge host of vastly different characters, but there's also an incredible amount of interwoven plots and unexpected occurrences, rendering it perfect for improv.
"People are excited about things that I wouldn't even have dreamed of," states Stewart, who has watched the HBO show but not read the books. "That's what our show will be: people who are desperately trying to recreate exactly the episodes, and other people who are desperately trying to recreate the books, and then other people who are desperately trying to create their own version of it."
Several international improv performers, including Australia's Patti Stiles, England's Adam Meggido and Ruth Bratt, and the cast of Liverpool's Impropriety will be joining the regular Die-Nasty cast on stage to recreate this fantasy world of swords and politics, magic and intrigue.
When asked about the possibility of seeing some of the gratuitous nudity for which the series is infamous, Stewart laughs and asserts that at the Soap-A-Thon, anything is possible. "We used to have the hour of gratuitous nudity; it was, I think, from Saturday at 2am or something. But then we realized we didn't need to have that anymore—we didn't need to have those specialty hours quite the same way, as sort of a way to draw people in. But who knows, we may just have spontaneous gratuity moments."
Over the course of its two decades of history, the Soap-A-Thon has evolved into a true show, as opposed to earlier incarnations which were a little less seamless. "More people play the whole thing," explains Stewart. "We have directors who do most of it now, musicians, so that it becomes a show more than just two hours there, two hours here; we'd have different tasks in those segments and whole groups would change, whereas it really is a continuous story now."
"Every experience that happens you can actually relate back to it," she continues. "So when you're at hour 25 you can talk about something that happened in that first hour, a memory and an experience, and it's a memory and experience for the audience as well because they saw it happen. So it becomes a shared story and memory."
Fri, Sep 14 (7 pm) – Sun, Sep 16 (9 pm)
Varscona Theatre, $16 Single admission (no re-entry); $50 Full weekend pass
vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy