Thanks to Ottawa’s Insensitivity Training for inviting us over for a show last night! It was a great, fun night, and they were terrific hosts. I was treated to a Jägerbomb, a shot of Jägermeister in a glass of red bull and the closest thing I’ve ever had to hard drugs. Also they drew our logo on the sandwhich board in front of the venue.. classy!
I think I.T. have found the perfect competitive format: 2 teams issue each other and respond to different challenges and the audience votes once at the end of night. You get to promote it as a competition, give the audience the power to decide the winner, yet defang the whole process so that it feels like more of a love-in than anything competitive.
I.T. sent some interesting challenges our way. My favourite scene came from the challenge “bring an audience member onstage and keep eye contact throughout.” Heidi, Nikki, Sean and I played grotesque but lovable creatures trying to win our audience member’s favour by trying to get as close to her as possible, by singing to her, etc. Throughout, we all kept eye contact with her, throwing ourselves around whenever her gaze wandered. It was bizarre and wonderful. Our audience member was embarassed, sure, but was also made to look pretty awesome. She said 3 words all scene, and as you might guess, all were quite important! She chose Nikki.
I.T. also challenged us to a silent scene, carried out with subtlety by Nikki and Sean. Later, I ate a peanut and had (faked?) an orgasm. Not so subtle. The audience pleaser was a Sounds Like a Song scene in which we all got involved.
What I liked most about our set was the way we were able to bring a long-form sensibility to a lot of our scenes. We played most of our scenes straight and kept a nice pace.
The hardest challenge that we issued to I.T. was to do a scene in French. Obama, having just visited Ottawa, was on everyone’s minds. The French Obama says “Oui, on peut”! This is funny to me in a nerdy way. I would translate “Yes, We Can” as “Oui, nous le pouvons”, because “On exclut la personne qui parle” (i.e. “On” is plural, but excludes the person speaking). Obama saying “Oui, on peut” would be a freudian slip: you all can, I’ll just talk about it. Overcoming the challenge got them major cred from the audience.
Anothe highlight was their scene about a depressed guy burying himself with a kid’s shovel. Now that’s depressing!
I will re-read this the next time we do a bad show and remember that Yes We Can!