I haven’t laughed so hard in such a long time. It’s not a coincidence that Colin Mochrie was behind it all. This wonderful master of improv and award-winning actor was the guest author at Readings at the Roselawn this past week.
Only having been our second Author Series event, we hadn’t fallen into a routine as of yet. The last time we showed up too late to take in the reception beforehand. However, this time we were armed with knowledge and arrived early and prepared.
Being extremely familiar with Colin Mochrie’s work, I had a sneaking suspicion the audience was going to be surprised by tonight’s events. In my mind, I couldn’t imagine Colin standing up and lecturing the entire night. So, with a delightful smile, I was one of the few who didn’t gasp when he announced he would be pulling people on stage for improvisation. Yes, it was a very interesting night indeed.
Improv is extremely difficult because it combines a couple of popular fears. The general premise is acting, but combined with making everything up on the fly and forcing you in front of an audience, it can be a harrowing event. It takes a brave person to dedicate their life to such a thing. I sympathized with every person pulled on stage, but I shouldn’t have worried as they all did fantastic!
Colin shares his opinion on improvisation:
“You have to listen. When doing Improv with others, you have to accept their ideas and build on them. You immediately have to drop any ideas you may have and support their’s. It’s the hardest thing to do when you are starting out.
The main thing is that you have to have fun.”
The point of the evening wasn’t just improvisation but also about Colin’s new book, Not Quite the Classics. It’s a literary spin-off of the improv game First line, Last line. This means he has taken a famous book, used the first line and the last line, and then made up everything in between. For the reading he chose The Cat In The Hat, a personal favourite of his, which took on a different feel when Colin turned it into a zombie survival story. His typical on-stage humour was present in the recreation of this children’s classic.
Getting to shake Colin’s hand after the event, I was able to relay just how much his humour has meant to me. I owe that man so many of my childhood laughs. Sometimes as creators, we don’t always see who we are affecting and it can get quite isolated when you are working. It’s nice to hear feedback and realize that what you do made a difference in someone’s life. I felt I needed to pass that along, no matter how much my voice may be lost in the crowd.
My brother and I would spend summers cooped up in the house, catching up on old Whose Line Is It Anyway? reruns from Britain. Perched on the corner of bed, we’d laugh until we’d roll off onto the floor. Later on, we would try to recreate some of the improv ourselves, failing miserably at it since neither one of us had an acting bone in our bodies.
I was a strange American kid. Growing up, my favorite TV shows included Kids In The Hall and Whose Line Is It Anyway?. I had a calendar with Niagara Falls on it and listened to several Canadian musicians. Some favourite actors included Jim Carrey, John Candy, and Dan Aykroyd. As an adult, it’s no wonder I married a man from New Brunswick. You could say I’m doing a terrible job at being American, but fantastic at being an honorary Canadian. Eh?
This magical, laugh-riot of a night didn’t just affect me, however, as I was able to watch people around me learn who Colin Mochrie was for the first time. As the evening grew older, they joined in the laughter and would walk away from the event slightly different, even just for a night.
Laughter is such a wondrous thing to share and celebrate! Just don’t ask me on-stage to create it. There’s nothing funny about that.
He’s a master of improv and an award-winning actor. Colin Mochrie has been making audiences laugh til they hurt for 25 years from Whose Line Is It Anyway? and This Hour Has 22 Minutes to the Roselawn Theatre with his book of songs, poems and personal stories.
Readings At The Roselawn
Nineteenth Season 2012/2013
Host: William Thomas
Readings at the Roselawn is one of the very best venues in Canada for writers to showcase their work.
A fun and friendly sold-out audience of 300 subscribers enthusiastically greets each guest author, just one on stage for each evening.