Tag: improv

Puppet Up Toronto Tour Diary – Day 6 – Stuck In An Elevator


For me, one of the perils of being away from home and in a different time zone is that my sleep patterns get really messed up. Last night was probably the worst since being here in Toronto. I was up well past four. Just couldn’t shut off my brain and go to sleep. Of course 4AM here is only 1AM west coast and I’m usually up that late as it is. Still it’s rough to lie there, wide awake, hoping for sleep.

I did get up a little after noon, so I did sleep somewhat. I have come to accept the fact that I’ve come down with some sort of travel bug. Scratchy throat. Cough. Sniffly nose. My voice is a fe octaves lower than normal, but at least I still have it. I seem to hit low notes in the show’s songs much better now though. For the past few days I’ve been drinking tea like crazy and that will continue. Didn’t to much during the day other than hang out in the hotel room, write a little, listen to music and just relax.

About an hour before call I met Dan and Brian for another dining adventure. Last night it was pan fried dumplings (which I worked into last night’s show). Tonight we tried and indian restaurant right next door to the theatre. Having never had indian food before I have to say…I LOVED it. It was so good and I will, for sure, be going back before we leave.

Tonight’s show was a really great show and really defined the word improv. To get to the stage we’d been taking an elevator. Moments before showtime, a stagehand was coming down to pick us up and the elevator got stuck! There was to be no using it at all. Our options became, go through the audience or out the back alley of the building to the stage. Needless to say, there’s a lovely alley behind the building.


The crowd was fantastic tonight and there were some really great scenes. There was a Shakespearean scene that Michael, Peggy and Brian were in that just killed. It was one of those scenes where you’re watching going, “I want to be in this scene! It’s so good!” Just really fun.

The Alien Barbershop suggestion was Proctology. The rhyme I came up with was:

My doctor’s finger
Is inside me
But I don’t mind
He’s doing it for free

Got a good laugh from the crowd. During the puppet variety show, of which the barbershop is part, Colleen does these amazing intros and just when you think she’s lost her mind, she wraps it up beautifully and introduces the act. They are truly things of beauty.

Before the finale, there were some tech issues and Michael and I began imrovising as these two new giant Monk puppets that are part of the finale. It was something we did as a goof during rehearsal and suddenly we were doing it for a packed house. They were very generous with Theo and Lonius (the Monks) and their really bad jokes. Soon the tech gremlins were smashed and we were on our way with the finale.

Now, it’s off to bed! Two shows tomorrow! I can’t wait. I love doing this show and tomorrow I get to do it TWICE! Huzzah!

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Puppet Up Toronto Tour Diary – Day 3 – Opening Night

Yesterday I promised pictures of the lobby and here they are below! As you can see it really seems like the Puppets have taken over! Just the way we like it.



Today was the day of out big premiere. Very exciting. I did wake up with a bit of a scratchy throat so I went to get some tea. Seemed to do the trick. While sitting in my room I heard the sound of a voice talking through a megaphone or some other sort of amplification. I looked outside and right off my balcony, a street naming was taking place. No matter what else happens on the rest of this trip I can always say I was there when Macy DuBois Lane was named.

I spent the time before out 2PM call watching the apple keynote. Some good stuff there but it was all quickly forgotten when it was time to head to the theatre and get to work.

Today was a very tech heavy day. I’d love to say that it all went off without a hitch but our show does have some tech elements that really need to be tweaked. I will say our crew is the best and they take care of every detail. Between tour manager Juliana and production manager Greg, any issue gets squashed. They rock.


Our call was early because there were still some pieces we wanted to finesse and get nailed down even more securely than yesterday. We ran the set pieces and nailed down cues and crosses, tightening things for our opening night.

After a short dinner break it was back to the theatre to get into our ‘show blacks’ for curtain. The show was really great. The crowd had some great suggestions and I believe we paid them off pretty well.

I’m always in awe of my fellow puppeteers. Colleen is just an incredible improviser and it’s always fun to be in a scene with her. Ted is also brilliant and I always look forward to being in a scene with him. Our ‘spot’ scene about two airline pilots was a ton of fun. Michael Oosterom hit the second act opener ‘usher’ bit out of the park. His first time doing it and he rocked it. Same with Peggy who, did a great job with I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face. Especially considering the riser she was standing on was placed too far from the rail and she basically did the whole thing on her tiptoes in her giant boots. And Brian Clark is just crazy fun to be on stage with. His entrance as ‘Flamey’ a little ball of fire, in the Puppet Variety Show was hilarious. Totally ‘Hesnon.’


I had a so-so show. Felt a little flat in some of the improvs and Java, while going very well, had a small slip in it that will be corrected tomorrow, for sure.

I got to do the rhyme for the Alien Barbershop tonight and, while I think the joke was a little too predictable, it got a pretty good reaction. The suggestion was: Circumcision.

Now just hold still
And get a firm grip
Because if you don’t
I’ll take more than the tip.

Eh, so-so.

The finale will also need some tweaking on my end as well, to nail down the proper beats. I think, speaking solely for myself, things have been so technical leading up to tonight the ‘fun’ and ‘play’ of doing the show has sort of slipped to the back burner. Now that the tech stuff is nailed down, it’s time to really have fun.

Excited for tomorrow’s show. Excited I get to do this 13 more times. Grateful for every single second.

Ready for tomorrow.

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S&US Tour Diary – April 12, 2013 – Snowy, Snowy, Wausau, WI


Actual snow falling from the sky. That’s the sight that greeted me when I opened up the blackout curtains. I know snow is that big of a deal to most but to a California Boy who mostly stayed in the parts of California that don’t snow, it’s a sight.

I worked out in my hotel room and then, because of the aforementioned snow, I went and ran on the treadmill. I then met p with Dan to walk over to the mall to get a bit of that Subway I had scene the night before. Dan and I had a decent lunch in the Mall Food Court and then struck out into downtown Wausau.


The downtown square area is actually really nice and when you can take it in without running to the next building because you’re freezing you ass off, it’s fun to look around.

I went with Dan to get some coffee and then he went to shave. I walked out looking for some place to get a banana or two for later. I caught this great view of The Grand Theater where we were playing from the opposite side of the town square.


I walked a few more blocks to the Downtown Grocers and picked up a couple bananas. Then, in a brilliant move to undo all the good I’d done by exercising, eating good and walking for a bit, I had a small cup of Fat Elvis ice cream from a little sweet shop next door to the grocery place. Fat Elvis is vanilla ice cream with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate. It was decent stuff. Not sure if eating it while walking back to the hotel in the cold and snow was smart, my hands seemed frozen by the end.

I retired to my room for a few hours before the show where I worked on yesterday’s blog post and gathered my things for when it was time to go to the theatre.

Theatre going time arrived and once we, as a cast, walked to the theatre, I headed out with Peggy and Sean to take some puppet photos in front of the theater. Always a fun time coming up with creative ways to try to help promote the show via social media. SOmeone has to do it and it might as well be us.

Tech rehearsal went of after and went well, except we had a problem with the tech for the ‘Usher Brothers’ bit that opens act two, so that bit had to be scrapped for the night.

Dinner was great, all vegetarian fare. A change from most venues. Stuffed Peppers, steamed carrots, potatoes, it was awesome. The Apple and blueberry pies for dessert were amazing too. Almost made you too full to perform, but perform we did.


Nice big crowd in Wausau, WI. They were pumped and rearing to go. Special shout out to the folks who drove in from Minnesota for the show! Wow! They were Cinematic Titanic fans as well. Very cool to meet them.

I felt my improv was a little off last night, but there were some fun structures where I thought I did okay. The ‘New Choice’ scene with Allan about Curling was fun. I pulled all the curling facts from Jonathan Coulton’s song I could remember. Did a ‘Date Scene’ with Peggy that was decent. And, of course, Alien Barbershop was fun. The suggestion was Chewing Gum.

When chewing gum,
Don’t swallow it.
Or else you will,
See it when you…go to the bathroom.

At the end of the show we got another standing ovation, third in a row, very nice. Then Tyler, Sean and I went to a bar called Malarky’s Pub where two audience members had offered to buy us drinks. I’m, of course, a real cheap date, so my waters with ice didn’t set them back much at all.

Stayed at the bar talking to Sean a bit and then we headed back to the hotel. Had to get to sleep early because there was an early, 7:45AM, bus pick up call to drive on to Milwaukee.

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S&US Tour Diary – April 5, 2013 – Idaho Falls & The Bus Ride From HELL!

The morning of April 5, started early, early early. Just a few short hours after we had gone to bed. In order to make it to Idaho Falls in time for our AMAZING crew to set up, we have to be on the road by 6:30am, which meant, for me, being up before 6am.

We were on the road by 6:30am and had a much, safer trip to Idaho Falls. Because we hadn’t gotten very far the night before, we still had a close to three hour drive.

We arrived to the hotel by 9am and it, the Candlewood Suites, was just awesome. Kitchen in every room, an ‘honor system’ store in the lobby. Free laundry. A DVD player in each room and the latest DVD releases at the front desk you could check out for free. We were all pretty bummed we didn’t get to stay the night at this place. It was pretty great.

Most of us just crashed when we got there. In the afternoon we headed over to the theatre and took in the downtown area of Idaho Falls where the theatre was. Lots of fun stores there: a gaming store (Dungeons & Dragons), a metaphysical store (sage, singing bowls) and a yarn store to name a few. Had a great meal at the Snake Bite Cafe (amazing Idaho potato Waffle Fries).


The show in Idaho Falls was great. The crowd was into it and the suggestions were fun. We had a few tech issues, but rolled with it.

To give you a little info on Alien Barbershop, it’s a mini structure within a structure called Puppet Variety Show. The variety show has three acts. First is a trio of bunnies. Second is two random puppets performing and act. The finale is the Alien Barbershop.

Now the fun comes in that some of the people in the Bunnies, loop around and are in the Alien Barbershop. I am one of those, so I have to improvise in the Bunnies scene, then sing the lead part in the Alien Barbershop. It makes my brain melt, but it’s really a ton of fun.

The Alien Barbershop suggestion in Idaho Falls was North Korea.

Here was my rhyme:

You make statements
That have no class.
You’d better watch out
Or we’ll nuke your ass.

The crowd loved it. I had originally wanted to have the last word be impotent referring to North Koreas threats, but couldn’t think of a rhyme, so I went with ‘nuke your ass.’

Other fun spots included a ‘Sounds Like A Song’ in which I sang a big band ode to Cocktail Wieners and a “Sex Ed” scene with Ted Michaels in which he was insanely hilarious.


The show was a blast and we got a standing ovation. The people were incredibly nice. We did a donor meet and greet after with puppets and it was a lot of fun.

Then…the nightmare began.

After the truck was loaded and a brief food pitstop, we were on our way to Hamilton, Montana. According to our tour book, Hamilton was 4 hours away. Oh, if only.

I’m not quite sure what happened, but it became the buss trip that never ended. Every couple of hours I would look at my GPS on my phone it it would always, somehow, say there were over two hours left.

I couldn’t sleep at all in the seat on the bus (think airport shuttle type bus) and as the evening wore on it just became longer and longer. I tried to zone out listening to HARVEY on ListenToAMovie.com but it didn’t work too well.

The joke became that we’d actually died on the ‘cataract’ bus ride the night before and we were now stuck in purgatory on a bus ride that would never, ever end. That’s how bad it was.

Once we FINALLY, MERCIFULLY, got into Hamilton, Montana, the game of finding out where we had to go exactly began. It involved the bus making several u-turns and three point turns until we were finally able to get to bed.

Total time on the bus…over 7 HOURS! We were finally in our rooms after 7AM! Ugh.

Now, I will say our accommodations in Montana are amazing, and I will talk more about them tomorrow, and it would have been fantastic to get to spend another full night in them. But more about them, with pictures, tomorrow.

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