Coming to Victoria, BC! Improvised Murder Mysteries for Halloween & Zombie Xmas

12 Oct

Intrepid Studio Theatre
1609 Blanshard St
Victoria, British Columbia

Agatha Christie
Oct 25th – 28th 8pm| $15 (Eventbrite)
Z-Mas | Dec 6th – Dec 9th & Dec 14th – Dec 16th 2017 8pm | $15

Halloween is fast approaching and Victoria, British Columbia based Paper Street Theatre Company is hosting two scary themed events. In the month of October is an A Murder on Paper Street, an Improvised Agatha Christie — with plenty of mayhem to explore — and on December, it will be Zombies! For some folks, both seasons are the best time to tell spooky stories by the ebb of a misty night.

Nobody has to lose their candy or spill their cups of eggnog here, while cackling gleefully at what this team of performers — Dave Morris, Byron Kjeldsen, Missie Peters, Scott Thompson, Chris Gabel, Nicole Malcolm, Christina Patterson, Dominik Buconjic and Brooke Cameron — will offer on stage.

Morris leads this team and he is the founder of this company. He describes what this school does it to create improvisation that feels like theatre. “We study playwrights, styles, genres, and then perform completely improvised shows in that style. We’ve performed at festivals around the world, including Vancouver, London, Romania, Amsterdam, and more,” revealed this director.

This group does a lot of research and rehearsals in preparation before their seasonal shows which often plays at the Intrepid Theatre’s main office. With more questions from those who have not seen them perform (they are a staple of the Victoria Fringe Festival), I had the opportunity to ask this talent some questions:


The Paper Street Theatre Company (Photo: Derek Ford Photography)

How does it feel for you and the company to be a fixture of the local arts community?

DM: It feels great! Victoria has a wonderful community of artists and performers that we’ve had the pleasure of working with and being inspired by. Not to mention that a lot of performers I know spend their lives on the road. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to build a solid foundation in Victoria so that I can do and share what I love without living out of a suitcase. Victoria is my home, and my home is where I want to make my art.

As a place of learning for not only improving team dynamics, what can you say is vital when it transfers to works on stage?

Listening to each other is vital. Trusting each other is vital. Liking each other is vital. And understanding each other is vital.

Nearly everyone knows about what makes Christie great, but for survival horror, Zombies always comes to mind first. The protagonists worry about getting separated and isolated. The wintertime is perfect to exact this theme. Would you say that was the germination for planning the coming holiday special: Z-mas, An Improvised Zombie Movie?

DM: I wish! The truth is: Not at all. We’re doing a zombie show because I’ve always wanted to do a zombie show. I just couldn’t find the right way to do it. But mixing it with Christmas just makes it perfect!


The team also performs to Jane Austin! (Photo: Derek Ford Photography)

Christmas is considered to be a good time to tell ghost stories and its origins goes beyond A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. What made you decide to change tradition around?

DM: There are plenty of heartwarming things we do around the holidays, and for a few years we did heartwarming shows to, but my favourite Christmas traditions never have anything to do with Christmas. So, zombies seems to be a good fit.

How many years of zombie movies do you think this show will cover?

DM: We’ll be taking inspiration from all of the years of zombie films, but the show will be its own story and set in its own time, so no one zombie movie or era should jump out at you. Only the zombies will jump out at you.

Will you be paying tribute to the great George A. Romero?

DM: He’s certainly part of the inspiration for the show, but again, no one person or film will be in the show. The show will be made up from audience suggestions, not Romero’s suggestions.


Christina Patterson prepares for Agatha Christie (Photo: Derek Ford Photography)

What kind of research will the gang be doing in preparation?

DM: Watching all the zombie movies we can, and reading a few books, including I am Legend, which is one of the first zombie stories and the book that inspired Romero to make night of the living dead.

Will we get to see lots of (fake) blood?

DM: Maybe. I don’t want to spoil anything.

One detail I’m always curious about, in relation to some of how your shows move. Do you have an outline before a performance?

DM: Every story in the history of stories follows a general plot. A beginning where things are set-up, a middle where things start to go wrong and get worse, and then an ending where things resolve. There are a few more details in good storytelling, and sometimes we manage to include them. Everything is defined by the ideas from the audience, but a good story is always defined by the arc of good storytelling.

In closing, is there anything else you like to say?

DM: I’m looking forward to this show a lot. Christmas as a theme has a way of heightening the emotion of a genre — It makes action movies more fun, love stories more romantic, and horror stories more frightening.

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