August 18, 2019

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The dance of comedy

Improv troupe pairs up with contemporary dancers for season-ending show

Supplied</p><p>The cast of Outside Joke</p>

Supplied

The cast of Outside Joke

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/5/2017 (815 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Outside Joke, those local masters of the extemporaneous musical, become triple threats by adding dance to the mix in the final show of the 2016-17 season.

Dance is not entirely alien to OJ core members Andrea del Campo, Jane Testar, Toby Hughes, Chadd Henderson and Robyn Slade. The actors have performed in more traditional (that is to say, scripted) musicals in their collective experience.

But the troupe is upping its game for this weekend’s show, collaborating with contemporary dancers Brett Owen, Brianna Ferguson, Carol-Anne Bohrn and Samarah McRorie for their season finale.

“This might be our wildest collaboration yet, combining the unreal ability of the dancers with the unpredictable nature of improvisation,” Slade says. “Every one of us is stepping outside of our comfort zone for this show.”

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/5/2017 (815 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Outside Joke, those local masters of the extemporaneous musical, become triple threats by adding dance to the mix in the final show of the 2016-17 season.

Dance is not entirely alien to OJ core members Andrea del Campo, Jane Testar, Toby Hughes, Chadd Henderson and Robyn Slade. The actors have performed in more traditional (that is to say, scripted) musicals in their collective experience.

But the troupe is upping its game for this weekend’s show, collaborating with contemporary dancers Brett Owen, Brianna Ferguson, Carol-Anne Bohrn and Samarah McRorie for their season finale.

"This might be our wildest collaboration yet, combining the unreal ability of the dancers with the unpredictable nature of improvisation," Slade says. "Every one of us is stepping outside of our comfort zone for this show."

Supplied</p><p>Brett Owen</p>

Supplied

Brett Owen

Modern dance has been routinely mocked in contemporary culture (think: the "Choreography" number from the musical White Christmas) but this show maintains a healthy respect for the art form.

"What we’ve discovered while workshopping together is that the comedy hasn’t been coming from making fun of dance," Slade says. "The comedy is really coming from an honest place.

"We might start a scene or start singing a song," she says. "And the way the dancers interpret our characters’ thoughts and feelings and translate that to dance… as it turns out, that’s very funny."

Improv can explore more dramatic territory. So is this the kind of show where we should anticipate it won’t all be for laughs?

"Maybe, maybe not," Slade says. "There will be some drama, some comedy, and some exciting, unsettling stuff tucked in there as well."

And should we anticipate the OJ performers will be dancing too?

"I don’t want to give too much away," Slade says. "But yes, we will be dancing."

randall.king@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @FreepKing

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

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