Will Laughs Last?

sin city 48-hour soap-a-thon with kirsten van ritzen, peter oldring, albert howell, herbie barnes and others, created and directed by.


sin city 48-hour soap-a-thon with kirsten van ritzen, peter oldring, albert howell, herbie barnes and others, created and directed by ian ferguson, begins Friday (October 11) at 8 pm and runs until at least 8 pm on Sunday (October 13). $15 (single admission), $25 (weekend pass). Poor Alex Theatre (296 Brunswick). 416-923-1644.

Rating: NNNNN

Improv performers are always told to “be in the moment.”This weekend, a bunch of the best get a zillion of those moments as they try to set the Guinness world record for longest improvised play.

Starting promptly at 8 o’clock Friday night and running until at least the same time Sunday, the Sin City comic soap folks will be improvising every one of their lines. All they’ll know at the outset is that the show is set in a Queen Street-style loft.

“It was a bar idea, one of those things you don’t think you’ll ever actually do,” laughs Ian Ferguson, creator and director of the successful comedy franchise that’s played weekly in town for the past four years.

Kirsten Van Ritzen, who’s been with the yearly changing soap since its inception in Edmonton in the early 90s, claims she’s looking forward to the gruelling challenge.

“I once did a 12-hour stretch and broke through so everything I thought and responded to was as my character,” she explains. “That’s your goal.”

“After a while, the fatigue will settle in and destroy any ego,” says Ferguson. “Then the performers will get rid of their tricks and start improvising from a very pure place.”

Guinness rules allow a 10-minute break every two hours. Ferguson expects up to 50 improvisers to perform at some point, including celebrity walk-on guests and hardcore members like Peter Oldring, who will try to last all 48 hours. The longest-lasting audience member gets a prize.

As usual, performers won’t discuss ideas for characters with each other before shows. Does Van Ritzen know what kind of character she’ll portray?

“I’m looking through my closet tomorrow,” she laughs.glenns@nowtoronto.comcomedy preview

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