Every great comedy bit is built on the ashes of the bad ideas and good ideas that came before it — but mostly the bad ones. Rooms full of laugh-hungry strangers tend to be a lot less forgiving than your bathroom mirror, and when it comes time to decide whether something is really funny or not, there’s no better test than the stage.
That same rule applies for improv and, for the month of April, Rapid Fire Theatre is giving fans a front row seat to the ego-crushing process that is workshopping new material during its annual Bonfire Festival.
Running until April 24, the Bonfire Festival is a two-week flurry of never-before-seen sketches, skits and characters, presented by current Rapid Fire Theatre cast members. Since they’re all brand new, some of the festival’s performances may even end up launching beloved characters and improv troupes, while others may crash and burn in a style so uniquely comedic that it can only be described as bombing. The beauty (and fun) of each performance is not knowing which way it will go.
Last year’s Bonfire Festival had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year’s festival will be completely online. But fans need not fear the inescapable awkwardness usually associated with comedy on Zoom, because after a year of performing online, the team at Rapid Fire Theatre has put together a killer lineup of pandemic-friendly performances. Some of the acts being featured this year include a spoof of life at City Hall, a real time re-dubbing of Hollywood classics and a celebrity roast battle that is decidedly light on celebrities but heavy on insults.
Fans can view show listings and buy tickets to the Bonfire Festival through Rapid Fire Theatre’s website. Tickets to online shows range from free admission to $20 per ticket, depending on fans’ ability to pay.
This weekend, go ahead and take a seat, hit mute on your computer’s microphone, and enjoy Rapid Fire Theatre’s Bonfire Festival. Edmonton’s next great improv troupe might only be one Zoom link away, but they’ll need your hard-earned laughs to figure that out.