Vancouver TheatreSports League Crowns The Laugh Jedi

Sourced from VTSL’s website

With the new Star Wars trailer now released, anticipation is growing for the movie’s big screen debut in December.

In the meantime, you can indulge your Star Wars geekery in the Vancouver TheatreSports League’s (VTSL) latest show: Improv Wars – The Laugh Jedi.

From now until November 18, 2017, the always funny VTSL will be presenting Improv Wars at 7:30pm, Thursday through Saturday.

The show begins with Star Wars’ quintessential opening crawl text (of course, with some tongue-in-cheek humour) before launching into non-stop improvisation that pays homage to the epic space saga.

The set of Improv Wars; Photo Credit: Tara Lee

The first half of Improv Wars plays out like a reality TV show (eg American Idol) where contestants compete for the hearts (and belly laughter) of the audience who decide, through applause, which jedi gets booted off each round.

The cast of Improv Wars; Sourced from VTSL Facebook page

The contestants, in true Star Wars form, are characters from the original series, such as Luke Skywalker, Beru Lars (she raised Luke), C-3PO, General Tarkin, and Han Solo. Particularly guffaw inducing is Jabba the Hutt, who appears on stage as a giant and awkwardly shuffling inflatable doll who speaks in incoherent groans.

With the help of audience suggestions (eg name a profession; name something you might build), each round consists of an improv skit that the competing jedis must perform. In one, two contestants are physically immobile and require the help of an audience member to adjust their arms and legs for gestures and movement. In another, the jedis are tasked to try as be as ‘unfunny’ as possible; every time their deadpan speech elicits laughter from the audience, the master of ceremonies (an Obi-Wan Kenobi figure) slashes them with his lightsaber and wit. Ouch! The one who is slashed five times loses.

In the end, only one jedi can emerge as the Laugh Jedi. In true improv form, the contestant crowned will vary each show, depending on the performances of the night and the audience’s reactions to them.

The second half of the night is an unfolding of long-form improv that follows further adventures of the Star Wars characters. A crowd favourite is a scene in which Yoda gives life advice in characteristic inverted sentences (“Soldier on, you must”) and through a very funny extended metaphor based off of an audience suggestion (“life’s challenges are like two humped camels”).

Figrin D’an & The Modal Nodes aka The Cantina Band; Sourced from VTSL Facebook page

In the end, the show is a reminder of how much Star Wars, its characters, and its symbols have become such an endearing part of people’s cultural knowledge. Improv Wars takes these beloved characters, pokes hilarious fun at them, and gets the audience involved in the spontaneous creation of ludicrous jedi antics on stage.

Further information and tickets are available on-line.

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