The dust hasn’t settled on the stage from the Barrie International Comedy Festival, yet plans are underway for a repeat performance.
“I’m having a lot of fun, this diversified what we can do,” Talk is Free Theatre artistic director Arkady Spivak said.
He was amazed by the number of comedy fans who took in last weekend’s inaugural festival, noting, 1,600 tickets were sold to the various events, which featured comedians Colin Mochrie, Sandra Shamas and musical trio Buddy Wassisname and Other Fellers, among many other performers.
“I’ll be honest with you, we sold more tickets in three days than we did for the entire season of (TiFT) theatre,” Spivak said.
Dufflebag Theatre also put on a kids’ performance of Robin Hood, which introduced some local youth to the comedy genre.
“To me, comedy is everything,” said Spivak, who enjoys the talents of Andrea Martin – one of Canada’s international stars. “Comedy as a genre — the best of it, not the coarse language stand-up shows — is reserved for clever people to do and to see,” he said.
“They need an intelligence to reconcile what it’s all about.”
The inaugural comedy festival is a nice segue into TIFT’s upcoming season, which includes a nod to Canadian Vaudeville.
Spivak said stand-up and sketch comedians may use a script like other theatre performers, but have the challenge of incorporating a live audience.
“Sandra Shamas goes in and out (of her script), addressing people live throughout the whole thing. I think, in comedy, you’re qualified to do that. It’s an extension of theatre,” Spivak said.
With plans in the works for a second comedy festival, Spivak looks forward to once again brining local and international talent to the stage to talk about being Canadian.
“My goal would be to find a way to understand, through comedy, what the Canadian experience is,” he said.
Next year’s festival may include an open mic night, a bilingual performance and non-language performances by clowns, mimes or physical comedy acts, he said.
For more information about TIFT’s upcoming theatre schedule, visit tift.ca.