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May the improv games be ever in your favour

By Connor Sadler, April 2 2015 —

Pitting performers from eight of Calgary’s best improv troupes against each other, the Improv Games: Catching Funds is an elimination-style improv competition inspired by the Hunger Games series.

Organized by local troupe Obviously Improv, the Improv Games started last year as a way to bring the Calgary community together. The games also help Obviously Improv raise funds for the troupe and Calgary arts groups in a unique way.

During the event, two performers from each team compete, with the winner determined by a panel of judges. Audience members are given a coin beforehand, which is used to sponsor their favourite team.

The team with the most sponsors before each round is granted bonuses. These range from being able to pick your own judge from the audience to having restrictions placed on opponents, like only being able to speak in three-word sentences.

As the night goes on, low ranking teams are eliminated until one claims victory.

According to Obviously Improv artistic director Laura Tennisco, the show embraces the Hunger Games format by making audience participation is important to the outcome of the competition.

Tennisco says after last year’s audience used their coins, many of them threw money into the coin buckets and yelled out what teams they wanted to sponsor.

“It got really heated and I think people really enjoyed it,” Tennisco says. “It’s almost like horse track racing meets comedy.”

The Hunger Games theme doesn’t just apply to the improv contest, it extends to the audience as well.

Tennisco encourages people to dress up like citizens of the Capitol from the Hunger Games to help the event feel like more than an improv show.

To help audience members get in the spirit of dressing in the wild fashions of the Capitol, Obviously Improv is bringing an airbrush artist to the event to give participants make-up before the performance.

“It’s a whole kind of gala evening and then you add the cut-throat sponsorship in. It’s kind of a riot,” Tennisco says. “We’re hoping that people find that it’s an event night out, not just a show.”

The Improv Games: Catching Funds will take place on April 4 at Festival Hall. Tickets are $20. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and the show begins at 8:00 p.m.

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