Sunday, June 04, 2006

Jacob on Derek

Derek was first on my list when forming THE CANADIAN SHiELD.
He understands THEATRESPORTS: the nature of the 'competition', the essence of stories, the balance between mischieviousness and allowing the show to succeed.

He studied under Keith Johnstone for years, and took the work to new levels for himself and others on stage. Where others would merely obey the Prof, Derek would respectfully question and challenge the pillars of improv.

I think I met Derek in 1991 at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, where we hosted a Theatrespots Tournament called ImproMania. He from Loose Moose Theatre, I of Rapid Fire. Immediately I knew he was the best kind of trouble on stage. Derek would leap into any challenge that came up, mess around with the show, make tons of little jokes but never detract from the story. He was fearless but in control and a real inspiration for me.

Derek probably did not take notice of me, since i was not on the tournament team. Over the next year we crossed paths a couple times, and at the next Fringe were cast in the same show - a semi-improvised show called Suspect, in which i unsuccessfully stole his gags on more than one occasion. shame on me, yes.

He went off to be one of The 3 Canadians, touring the world doing unbelievable street shows that somehow were improv related ... it was 80% SHOWSHOWSHOW, 5% improv and 15% convincing the crowd to pay them for it. It was remarkable (he remarked).

Derek moved to Toronto, and we have played once there at Catch 22 (!)with Kevvy - i think in the last 10 years we have done just that one show together, but it's like riding a bike or surviving a shark attack, once you learn...

We work well together and won't put up with complacency from the other.

Derek and I were also part of The Happy Gang at DisneyWorld in '96. For details, you have to ask one of the gang personally - Jacob, Derek, Mark, Belinda, Josh and Eric.


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