Jan. 10, 2013 - Issue #899: The games we play
The 11 O’Clock Number!
In theatre, the 11 O'Clock number is that grand song near the end of a musical that resolves the plot and leaves a tune stuck in your head as you exit. Grindstone Theatre's new musical The 11 O'Clock Number! debuts at the Varscona this weekend with an aptly energetic twist: the entire two-act show will be improvised. Local talent Byron Martin is merging his backgrounds in both improvisation and musical theatre to bring something new to Edmonton's thriving improv culture.
Director of the show and the artistic director of Grindstone Theatre, Martin's new Varscona-based company speaks to his main objective of providing educational and professional opportunities to local actors.
"This is where my heart is," Martin says. "I want to serve the community. I'm a few years out of theatre school now and I'm noticing that the role of the producer and theatre company is so crucial in this town. There's an overflow of graduates and so few places that are hiring. I want to give these trained and talented actors the space, time and opportunity to keep learning and to share their skills with the community."
The 11 O'Clock Number! is scheduled to run every two weeks until April, with a view to perform every Friday come September. Martin ran workshops in order to select the main cast for the first season of the show, and ultimately settled on a general cast of 20 people where six actors will perform each night.
"The cast will change slightly as the season goes on," Martin says, "but on average, each cast member will do about three shows this season. My favourite part of these workshops has been seeing what this cast comes up with. The calibre of their work is rising so quickly."
After extensive workshopping and preparation, Martin is now eager to see how Edmonton audiences will react to his show as it begins to offer a new improvised musical each time it hits the stage.
"It's so exciting to be able to add another voice to the improv community," Martin notes. "The show is from the perspective of a musical comedy and will inevitably be silly and a lot of fun. I hope that audiences will come away from these shows feeling good, laughing and humming some of the new tunes they heard that night."
Fri, Jan 11; Fri, Jan 25; Fri, Feb 8; Fri, Feb 22; Fri, Mar 8; Fri, Mar 22; Fri, Apr 5; Fri, Apr 19 (11 pm)
Directed by Byron Martin
The Varscona Theatre, $14
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