Once a year, the folks at Catch 23 improv invite their friends from far and wide to join them in a week-long theatre festival that “is part competitive improv pit fight, part presentation of new formats, and part collaborative adventure.” The third Tournament of Wonders began last Monday and continues tonight and Saturday with performances from some of North America’s best improvisers.
Catch 23, which normally takes place every Monday at Clinton’s Tavern (and which we previously declaired dead, but has since been resurrected), is a competitive improv show. Three teams have 23 minutes each to spread over 4 rounds however they see fit, and scenes are scored by a combination of audience applause and points assigned by a grumpy resident judge. The Tournament of Wonders explores an extended tournament-style execution of this format, as well as longform showcase sets from groups and duos that don’t normally get a chance to perform in Toronto. Notable acts include Ferrari McSpeedy from Minneapolis, General Fools from Regina, and Crumbs from Winnipeg.
As if that wasn’t enough, each evening features an on-location after party, which last night involved a Wii tournament on a big screen and several N64 stations. The venue, The Theatre Centre (1087 Queen St. W), contributes to an atmosphere that allows for the performers to explore silence and nuance in ways they aren’t able to do at their regular tavern venue, while still making the audience feel comfortable and at home.
Tonight’s performances are at 8 p.m. (Catch 23 tournament) and 10 p.m. (showcase sets by Instant Theatre, Terrible Noises, and 9/11). You can watch both shows for $12, plus at midnight tonight there’s a special pay-what-you-can set. Sound complicated? Yeah, it kind of is. Check out the official site for details.