Im­prov marathon

P.E.I.’s Popalopalooza to raise funds for QEH Can­cer Treat­ment Cen­tre

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - Sally Cole Stage Door

As per­form­ers, the Popalopalots are fear­less.

Whether they’re cre­at­ing fresh, on-the-spot im­prov or walk­ing blind­folded through 100 live mouse­traps, th­ese brave com­edy troupe mem­bers thrive when they’re un­der pres­sure.

So, in 2016, it’s no sur­prise that they are boldly go­ing where no hu­man on P.E.I. has gone be­fore.

They are plan­ning to per­form for 26 hours straight as a com­edy fundraiser for the Can­cer Treat­ment Cen­tre at the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal in Char­lot­te­town.

“It’s a chal­lenge. It’s also go­ing to be an in­ter­est­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal ex­per­i­ment. But I an­tic­i­pate that I’ll be able to stay awake,” laughs Rob Macdon­ald.

Popalopalooza, is hit­ting the boards of The Guild in Char­lot­te­town from Fri­day, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. to Satur­day, Jan. 30, 10 p.m. The group’s goal is to per­form im­pro­vi­sa­tional theatre con­tin­u­ously dur­ing that time pe­riod.

“It won’t be all of us all the time. We will each take turns. Then we’ll re­unite for the fi­nal, two-hour show on Satur­day from 8-10 p.m.,” says Macdon­ald, a mem­ber of the troupe that in­cludes Jor­dan Cameron, Ben Hart­ley, Cameron MacDon­ald, Dy­lan Miller, Gra­ham Put­nam, Ali­cia Al­tass, Kelly Case­ley and Ali­cia Arse­nault.

The idea is to get peo­ple in­ter­ested in the en­tire event not just the fi­nal two hours. So they plan to break the im­prov marathon into smaller chunks of time, with dif­fer­ent themes.

“For in­stance, Satur­day af­ter­noon from 2 to 4 p.m., our plan is to im­pro­vise a com­plete, made-up movie. Satur­day morn­ing we’re plan­ning on im­pro­vis­ing some fairy tales,” says Macdon­ald.

Au­di­ence mem­bers can come and pay by do­na­tion on Fri­day and stay for as long as they want but the fi­nal two hours is a tick­eted $15 event.

“We an­tic­i­pat­ing that there will be quite a bit of in­ter­est from the gen­eral pub­lic for the fi­nal two-hour show. Peo­ple will want to see what kind of a mess we’re in (af­ter no sleep),” laughs Macdon­ald.

The idea for their im­prov marathon started sev­eral years ago.

“I off-hand­edly joked that, ‘wouldn’t it be fun to do a 24 hour im­prov?’ At that time it was dis­carded and dis­re­garded,” says Macdon­ald.

But, a few months ago that changed when troupe mem­ber Kel­ley Case­ley re­minded him that he had made that of­fer.

And she chal­lenged him to re­visit the idea.

“I thought it would be an in­ter­est­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal ex­per­i­ment, if noth­ing else. And then the other Popalopalots signed on board to make it worth­while to do.”

Af­ter some dis­cus­sion, they de­cided to do it for char­ity.

“Ev­ery­one has fam­ily mem­bers deal­ing with can­cer. And we have a cou­ple of mem­bers who have first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of that.”

They knew that the QEH Can­cer Treat­ment Cen­tre was in need of heated chairs for the pa­tients, while they un­der­go­ing chemo­ther­apy.

“So we thought that would be a per­fect char­ity to do­nate our time and ef­forts to.”

Sally Cole is an en­ter­tain­ment writer with The Guardian. She wel­comes com­ments about her col­umn as well as sug­ges­tions for fu­ture col­umns from read­ers. She may be reached at sco­lethe­ or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.


The Popalopalots ap­pear in a hand­out photo. Troupe mem­ber­sare ex­cited about Popalopalooza, a 26-hour im­prov marathon hap­pen­ing at The Guild on Fri­day, Jan. 29.

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