FoundFest 2015: Whimsical imagination at Forever Never Always Here

Any show that is performed by two improv troupes roaming to various locations throughout the city is going to have an element of whimsy and comedy, but Forever Never Always Here, presented as part of the 2015 Found Festival (June 25 – 28) really blew me away with its insights into everyday life.

In collaboration with Improvaganza, Found Festival combines the talents of Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre troupe and Norway’s Det Andre Teatret for three performances in different locations – The Burrow Central LRT Station, Blush Lane Organic Market, and Avenue Appliance Store.

I took in the show at Blush Lane Organic Market Friday night and loved the short but sweet (45 minutes) performance that intersects a typical setting most of us visit weekly with talented improv performers who took ordinary interactions most of us ignore in a grocery store and elevated them to something special. Forever Never Always Here improvised stories of what could have happened in the space, taking inspiration from the elements around the actors and serenaded by Joel Crichton on the accordion. Throughout the performance, the actors gave us peeks into scenes from kids stealing organic jellybeans and lying to their Mom, to one of the last moments a grandson spends with his grandmother, to the beginnings of a relationship. All pretty typical interactions you might find during your weekly grocery run, but ones that you’re likely not brave enough to listen to or overtly watch. In seeing these intimate moments playing out in Blush Lane Organic Market, I thought the performance was a really refreshing reminder to slow down and take in what’s happening around me, to not be so self-absorbed, and a gentle reminder that everyone else’s lives are just as important and extraordinary as I find my own.

Beyond the great premise of the performance itself, the actors were great. Friday night’s performance featured Jessie Mcphee, Joleen Ballendine, Julian Faid and Joel Crichton from Rapid Fire Theatre and Cathrine Frost Andersen and Nils petter Morland from Det Andre Teatret. All of the actors played off each other’s sense of exploration and ‘what if’s’ – elevating simple interactions to ones filled with emotion and significance, even if only for the characters. I loved the easy interaction between the five actors, who jumped into, built upon, interrupted, and returned to one another’s scenes. While this sounds hectic, it really came together in a beautiful constantly swirling activity that enforced the theme of elevating everyday interactions.

Forever Never Always Here has one more performance – June 27 at 1:00 p.m. at the Avenue Appliance Store (10041 82 avenue). I believe it is sold out, but check out the Found Festival box office at Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo Park (83 avenue and 104 street) or tweet @CommonGroundArt.

Found Festival continues until June 28 – check out CommonGroundArts.ca for schedule and ticket information, or drop by the festival headquarters in Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo Park.

Improvaganza wraps up June 27 – schedule and ticket information available from Rapid Fire Theatre.

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