Played The Director's Cut with Shawn Kinley (from Loose Moose) and Nadine (from Wurzburg's famous Kaktussen). The story I directed inhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifvolved the mystery of the photo and the murder, it was a mystery story that wouldn't end up on any bestsellers lists. But hey, that is what happens sometimes in the director's cut... the ending just doesn't really feel like an ending.
Played again at the Ventil, a cool club/venue in Baden, go to the Ventil, it is cool there.
The show? A vampire who is bored being a vampire and wants to stop, Chris Angel (mindfreak) helps him escape the shackles of immortality, the secret is to have a vampire who loves him bite him.
The other story involved a young couple getting married, she wants a big wedding, he has lost his job... problem. solution? he almost leaves her because he is so stressed out, but they end up eloping together in Las Vegas... married by Elvis.
It is always wonderful to be in Zurich/Baden (I would even admit that it is one of my favourite places, and I am not supposed to pick favourites). So thank you Improvenus for making me break my own rules...
Theatre In Bahnhoff are so good, have I mentioned that before? They are a group based out of Graz, Austria who do great improv shows as well as very interesting theatre. I guess you could call the theatre they do "experimental". Anyways, we go to Graz every year and do a show as part of the "Montag" shows, which is their weekly improv show. This year we did the show with Jacob Banigan (an old friend who used to be the Artistic Director of Edmonton's famous "Rapid Fire Theatre").
The show explored (isn't it funny to describe an improv show as "exploring"?) someone who had an extra toe and whether or not to get it removed. Whether your body, in its infinite wisdom, knew that it needed that extra toe for some reason. In the show it turned out that the person who gave us the suggestion of "extra toe" actually has an extra toe. Not only that, but she also went through the same pains of trying to decide wether she should have it removed or not... Once again, art imitates life.
I should mention that Lee rates Graz as his favourite city in the world. He has always claimed this and puts no other city above Graz. Even if there are those in the audience who try and claim (falsely) that Lee and CRUMBS have said this about other cities (like Munich? as if...) we stand behind Lee's claim. For the record Stephen Sim does not play favourites and refuses to name his favourite city... more on that later.
Next stop: Zurich
Have I told you about how awesome Mike Fly is? Mike Fly is awesome. We met him in Winnipeg, but he was from Regina, then he moved to Vancouver, then he moved to Toronto. Who knows where he is today. What I can tell you is that he has been doing the IMP, which is an Improv Monologue Project. He whisks you away with him (like you are on a secret mission) gives you a prop, takes to an undisclosed location, and then you improvise a monologue there. He posts it, and magic happens.
Above is Stephen's example, below is Lee's example. I suppose that is obvious though huh? Check them out, then subscribe to his site and watch them all. Really, you should watch them all.
link to youtube
link to break
At this point in the land of Blog I should address some issues. After receiving overwhelming response about the Leipzig/donkey bridge post I feel like I should have some sort of reply.
1) First of all, a Donkey Bridge is when you use a trick or a rhyme to remember something.
2) I suppose i did mess up the donkey bridge, now i must remember to walk backwards across the donkey bridge and say that the "ei" makes the I sound and the "ie" makes the E sound. There settled.
3) The origin of "donkey bridge". Supposedly donkeys hate crossing water and will stubbornly refuse, as they are so famous for being stubborn (in fact, I do believe that they are the most stubborn of the animals). People in ancient times would have to make a number of bridges just for donkeys, even if it was a small creek. They would reroute their paths just to cross these "donkey bridges" even if it meant they were going out of their way or having to travel further, because it was simply worth it to not have to deal with these stubborn beasts
Thank goodness we have trucks now that are not afraid of water.
Oh Wien, Wien (or as we "english lovers" know it, Vienna). We have had a love / hate relationship with this town. And when i say hate, perhaps that is a too strong a word, we have just had our annoyances.
On one hand, we know some great people here and that always makes a city. But the last time we did a show here (which was 2-3 years ago) we had problems with:
-the stage (there was an amazing set of a bombed out apartment that we were not allowed to play on)
-the lights (the lights were all aimed at the set and the tech wasn't speaking english)
-the organization (we arrived at the theatre only to learn we could not get in until 30 mins before the show, which was a problem because of the above reasons)
-the advertising (the picture used in the very minimal ads was a picture of someone else, in fact it was woman, in double fact it was a woman who had been in a scene with us years ago at another festival who simply destroyed any good scene she touched)
-audience (there wasn't one)
So we just had a grey and dreary time. After that experience we had just written off Vienna and "not where CRUMBS will go". So this time was a complete 180 from that experience, now Vienna is sunny and cool again. TAG (our host group) were cool, they had a very cool space to perform in, they brought with them a wonderful audience and we had a great time. Thank you Georg.
The show included one story line that had conflict between lions and lionesses about work distribution. It was a story that would make a nice... well, story.
Another story involved "road pirates" and big rig truckers, another classic tale. So we also did a kick ass show that will ensure that we return.
Another bonus was that TiB (Theatre Im Bahnhoff which literally translates to Theatre in the Train Station) which are good friends of ours from Graz who do great improv and do great theatre. Jacob Banigan now lives in Graz and works with this company (with his gal Trixi and his lovely daughter Lili). Jacob is the former Artistic Director of Rapid Fire Theatre in Edmonton and a very old and good friend. It was nice to just talk Canadian to someone. He was also the team captain of the Canadian Team that Stephen (this blog writer) was on for the Championship match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup of Improv that was all across Germany (good times). I hope I didn't lose you as I jumped all over the place there in this post.
Bottom line, Vienna, you are cool again, I foresee a golden age approaching.
Next stop: Graz (Lee's favourite city... Stephen doesn't play favourites)
So the next stop on our tour was Marburg, a cool little college town in Germany you have probably not even heard of.
Marurg show was good and tight. The story bounced between:
1-One man's search for the sandwich guru and his quest to make the perfect sandwich. The quest for perfect sandwich eventually happens (after the guru training the the young man in a suitable martial arts karate kid style.
2-The troubles between a husband and wife (the wife has dreams that come true, the problem is that she also dreams crazy things to do in the garden, like only plant cucumbers and build great cucumber statues). She eventually learned to include her husband in these crazy decisions.
3-Throw in a second set that makes fun of cops and difference between talking out your problems and just killing, and you have the show right there in your imagination head.
It sounds plain when i just explain it all, but i guess you are just going to have to trust me when I say the show was nice.
We also played with Fast Forward, our host improv group. Fun times.
Next stop: Vienna, Austria
What can I say about Arhoena that I haven't already said before in older blogs? We go there every year on our tour. It is a mythical and magical land in a very small village in the middle of Germany. Uwe is the Konig (king) or maybe even Kaiser (emperor) of this horse ranch. He spreads the word of "Natural Horsemanship" and he is just an amazing person, filled with energy that is addicting and contagious. He is old friends with our good friend Christoph from Berlin and was the person who first believed in CRUMBS and started this whole "euro touro" thing we do every year. Back in the day Uwe would do Kabarett (which is German stand-up but more political and of course involves singing songs).
This year in Arhoena, not only did we do our show (again with a great musician, thank you Sasha) but there was an extra little thing. Uwe had been inspired for the first time in 10 years to put together a Kabarettt show. He brought in a Dutch band (called Bird which again brings back the Joe Bird parallel) and wrote some text. The show was crazy and strange and in German. We played a little set at the end as part of the encore (kind of like a teaser or trailer for our show the next day).
So we hung out with happy horse, a dutch band and recharged our batteries in the German countryside.
Next Stop: Marburg
A plastic bag a store actually gave me (was someone asleep in the design department?)
A couple of suits that Lee and I almost bought which would have been kick ass.
One of the many Bar Italias that there are on the road.
And finally, the sign for somewhere you should not go if you want something planned well.
Hamburg is a wonderful place, just arriving there made us smile. There are cool people and it is just a city that still exudes a cool vibe. the nickname for Hamburg is quite obviously "The Hammer", so it's sister city is obviously Hamilton, Ontario if only because they share a nickname (though i suppose if they were really sisters it would be silly for them to have the same nickname, they would have different nicknames).
The show we did in Hamburg was in a school, our only show on this tour at one. We usually play at a theatre, brought in by a theatre company or an improv group. This stop we were produced by someone who is a teacher at the school and who is partners (politically correct for girlfriend) with someone we know in an improv group in Hamburg (Hidden Shakespeare). The show was a good one, the lights were nice and easy, the stage was nice and big and we played with a very good musician... oh good musicians. Since we don't do the whole tour with our dj (which we do wish we could) we end up playing with music mercenaries. Sometimes this works out well (like in Hamburg) other times it works out okay, and other times we wonder how these musicians exist, how they play at other shows and how they keep getting work (these times will remain nameless). Our musician was from Hidden Shakespeare and played perfectly the soundtrack and atmosphere and mood for our show, he made the emotions worth more with only a couple of notes and made the monologues better than they were just by choosing the right key, thank you.
We stayed at Frank's place (he is the partner of the producer) and he was out of town on a gig playing shows on a cruise ship on the pacific coast of South America (lucky guy). So we stayed in St.Pauli (which is also the coolest neighbourhood in Hamburg). Lee and I are also fans of the local football club from that area (named St. Pauli of course), they are famous throughout Germany as the cool team. Punks and alternative folks will be seen wearing their St. Pauli shirts with the trademark skull and cross bones. You will get nods on the streets by strangers just for wearing this emblem. It is like being part of a secret society except that it isn't such a secret and you aren't trying to take over the world (or maybe that is the secret?). Mortal enemies of St. Pauli fans would be the Bayern/Munich fans, whose football club is the richest.
We have never actually seen St. Pauli play a match, but this time in Hamburg we did see Bayern/Munich play. We went to this bar that wasn't really a bar but a multi-use space that had a beamer (German for projector) and a bunch of chairs and a bar. At least 200 people packed into the place to watch Bayern/Munich play Barcelona FC in the European Cup. Barcelona kicked the asses of the Bavarian team. It was wonderful to see. All the German fans in the room were silent every time Barcelona would score (which I believe was four times to their nothing). It was like Bayern/Munich was afraid of the ball. A nice illustration of the differences between these two teams would be the sponsors on the jerseys. Bayern/Munich = T Mobile (phone company) & Barcelona FC = Unicef (halloween boxes).
We are hoping to be in Hamburg next year during the celebration of the 100 years of St. Pauli. What a party that will be.
Next Stop: Arhoena (the magical horse ranch)
We interrupt the regular flow of this blog following the chronological European Tour of CRUMBS to give you this update:
So nothing too serious, but I did wake up at around 3:40 am to the earth moving. While I lay there, my brain could see the big rocks below me squeezing together, rubbing out there violent vibrations. I lay there for a few moments in the the calm that followed, preparing for the aftershocks. Nothing came but more sleep.
The next morning on the news, there was the announcement that it was 4.5 on the Richter Scale and the epicenter was at the foot of the Black Forest in southern Germany. According to the Richter Scale, the force was equivalent to the energy released by a small atomic bomb.
It was nice feeling the earth grumble in the way it did. Of course, I don't want to be around when the Earth is mad though.
So we do a double bill in Osnabrucke and Munster (not in both places, the double was the fact that we did both the cities). What we learned is:
-Osnabrucke we barely remember because we left right after the show (which made us have to have the show really be on time and had no room for an encore). Also, we did have a nice lunch right by the steps where the 30 years war ended. *Link for history nerds
-Muenster could seriously put Amsterdam into competition for the headquarters of the "bicycle army" if the war between cars and bikes ever gets off the ground.
This is also the time of the tour where we found out some bad news. Our Friend Joe Bird passed away (on April Fool's Day no less). He was an Edmonton legend and member of The Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie (I guess the first dead dead troll?). He was a member of this touring Canadian comedy troupe who made us young improv comedy folks realize that it could be done. Later becoming friends thanks to the Canadian Fringe touring circuit. We shared many a fun filled night of convo and laughs. We dedicated both these shows to him and his memory. The show in Munster actually being filled with bird references that we didn't even realize until after the show. I guess we were just focused on the show. I am positive Joe was laughing his ass off.
Next stop: The Hammer!