in theory productions crayon party: review

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when my friend leigh messaged me last month (yes, last month. don’t act surprised) to invite me to a comedy show/crayon party produced by montreal’s in theory productions, i was pleasantly surprised, although admittedly a bit skeptical. i’m not the biggest fan of live comedy shows, but the event landed on valentine’s day and since my only plans involved drinking whiskey with my cat, i decide i had better get out of the house before i became one of those chicks they make internet memes about.

i said yes before really getting the chance to look too far into the show and what the deal really was – one of in theory productions’ many intimate live acts, the show would feature a number of comedians discussing the evening’s theme of love. groan. i studied the press release… “crayon party? what in the name of time is a crayon party?” i thought to myself. i re-read the fine print: “you too will be given the chance to access your deepest darkest feelings with crayons.” feelings? i did not sign up for feelings.

horror of horrors! i unwittingly signed myself up for what appeared to be some kind of dreaded audience participation comedic performance. it’s not that i don’t like live comedy. don’t get me wrong. i like it, i do, i just don’t want to have to participate. audience participation in general for me has always been a bit of a nightmare, ever since i picked up a ball that had been frozen with liquid nitrogen with my bare hands during a demonstration at the science center in toronto when i was 8 and the entire room (and scientist guy on the mic) laughed at me. i cried. okay, so technically that wasn’t intended to be audience participation but the memory has haunted me for life. but, i chalked the crayon party (see what i did there?) up to another “just do it” moment, and headed down to the theatre ste catherine on valentine’s day evening.

upon my arrival, i told the bartender my name and that i’m on leigh’s list. he crossed my name off with a crayon. christ.

there was only one other couple in the theater when i sat down. they looked french and unhappy. thankfully, leigh arrived with her boyfriend, and the bartender got on stage to act as MC for the evening. turns out, his name is alain and he’s the owner of theatre ste catherine. and, perhaps not surprisingly, gave – in my opinion – the best performance of the night. despite the small crowd, he played off the intimacy of the situation and helped get everyone (all twelve of us!) into the mood. oh, the mood.

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the first performer, mista mcstevie, took to the stage, his drawing projected behind him on a big screen for all to see. he looked out into the audience, asking if there was any singles in the room. i sunk into my chair but, it was clear i was the only one there without a significant other of any sort, and he immediately asked me if i was single. i laughed, a little too loudly, and let the word “sorry” fall out of my mouth. “by sorry she means sorry i’m not interested” – true, but only because i’m currently in a serious relationship with, you know, jameson.

as the evening went on, we were encouraged to draw with the provided crayons, and the sweet sweet prize of free beer hung in the balance. i thought carefully about what would earn me the top prize, and decided to do a little brown nosing and draw each comedian! i’m a pretty talented artist (not) so i thought i was doing pretty well until i looked across the table to see leigh’s boyfriend attacking his paper. the finished product was some kind of mutant crocodile priest creature with like 14 penises, jerking off. i should also mention that the jizz was made of more tiny penises – at leigh’s suggestion (“it needs more penises!”)

the rest of the performers followed suit, describing their crayoned drawings. another highlight was the only female performer of the night, sandi armtstrong, whose act was about how she’d recently fallen in love and, fuck, is it ever a fucking burden. the alone on valentine’s day part of me hated her a little, but mostly i laughed because not only was she hilarious, but she spoke the fucking truth.

a tall, southern professor, charles ives, took the stage after her, and although he was stiff and awkward (part of his act), he was phenomenal as well. his bit about eve being created from adam’s rib, and spending the better part of his life thinking girls were made from barbecued ribs took the house down. i sketched out some floating ribs around his head in my drawing in his honour.

an uneasy, and a bit over the top performance from a guy, morgan o’shea, who was (as i later found out) trying out a new character, was not my favourite of the night, but i gave him mental kudos for his guts. another australian performer, shane adamczek, played us some songs on the guitar – i was completely impressed with his tact and wit, and how it all fit together through song. i happily drew some music notes around his head.

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when the show was over, the cast got on stage to announce the winners. of course, leigh’s boyfriend was the winner, along with a few others. much to my dismay, i didn’t win!!!! alain did, however, hold up my drawing for all to see, complimenting my obvious art skills and claiming he’d use it as a poster for the next show.

after the show was over, i approached the performers and eric to introduce myself, demanding compliments for my amazing drawing. i even had them take a photo with my drawing, just to prove how much they loved it. plus, i got a free shot of jameson out of the whole deal, and got the opportunity to meet some really cool people.

all in all, my experience at the crayon party was delightful – delightful – and i’m so glad that despite it all, i got to spend valentine’s day laughing. special thanks to leigh for inviting me, and sasha manoli (the creator/producer of in theory productions) for putting it all together.

if YOU want to attend a crayon party and stay up to date with all things in theory, like them on facebook! and while you’re at it, like theatre ste catherine too.

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