Verb Theatre’s Heart | Image: Courtesy of Verb Theatre


Verb Theatre tests out improv with experimental new show

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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It was last year when actor and improviser Karen Johnson Diamond attended Verb Theatre’s production of Lungs. Enthused by the unique performance style, she wondered if it could translate into an improv format.

So in March 2016 Johnson Diamond and Verb Theatre’s Artistic Director Jamie Dunsdon joined Dirty Laundry improviser Josh Bertwistle and director Kevin McKendrick in the Verb Experiment Lab with the goal of testing out the idea. And Heart was born.

“It was perfect timing,” says Dunsdon, in a statement. “We were just starting up a pilot program called the Verb Theatre Experiment Lab, which is a sort of artistic outreach project designed to help Calgary theatre artists test out theatrical hypotheses in a risk-rewarding setting. So when Karen told me she had this question, I told her to bring it into the lab.”

Verb Theatre’s work explores conversations and theatrical forms using surprising, important, and innovative performance.

After a workshop presentation, the artists were convinced they’d found something worth exploring further.

Heart runs for one week only and features Johnson-Diamond and Bertwistle. Embracing improv, each night the show will feature a new relationship, from beginning to end, inspired by one question asked of the audience at the start of the show—what do we want to know about the couple?

Heart runs from November 9 to 12, 2016 at Lunchbox Theatre (160, 115 9th Ave. SE). Veterans and service members receive free admission on Remembrance Day.