2023 Theatre Festival

September 21-24, 2023

The Backstage Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta

Join us for 4 days of exploration and play.

IMPORTANT: Our community includes artists and patrons who are immunocompromised and/or live with chronic health conditions. As a result, all Play the Fool staff, artists, volunteers and patrons are subject to these Health policies. Masks are required in the Backstage lobby, bathrooms, and other indoor Festival areas.

Most performances are mask friendly – masking will be optional for the audience while seated in the performance space. Some performances are mask required for audience members.

If booking group tickets, or if ticket price is a barrier to access, please contact us!



Headliner

2-MAN NO-SHOW

Toronto, Ontario

“2-MAN NO-SHOW's Ken Hall and Isaac Kessler are the future of comedy.”

Rich Talarico (Key & Peele/MadTV/Saturday Night Live)
Thu Sep 21 8:00pm
~ 50 mins | Ages 18A $15-$30 Mask friendly – audience masking is optional

ClownProv

Manifested by Ken Hall and Isaac Kessler

Musical accompaniment by Erik Mortimer

Thursday Sept 21st @ 8 pm

The absurd and unpredictable duo of Isaac Kessler and Ken Hall use high energy physicality to drive characters into absurd and surreal situations that are utterly jaw dropping. 2-MAN NO-SHOW attack every stage with their signature hyperphysical, hilarious and fourth-wall-breaking “ClownProv”-style that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. One of the hottest North American acts around, the unpredictable tag-team duo take you on a bizarre ride of undefinably funny comedy. Tired of talking heads? So are we. Known for their signature hyperphysical, hilarious and fourth-wall-breaking “ClownProv” style, they wow audiences and win hearts wherever they go.

On Saturday Sept 23th, 2-MAN NO-SHOW debut their brand of madcap-absurdity at Play the Fool Festival – an experimental theatrical journey that puts YOU in the director’s seat!  

READ MORE ABOUT THE ARTISTS…

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Headliner

2-MAN NO-SHOW: BALLS OUT!

Toronto, Ontario

“If David Lynch married Mr. Bean, their love child would look a lot like 2-MAN NO-SHOW”

CBC
Sat Sep 23 8:00pm
~ 50 mins | Ages 18A $15-$30 Mask friendly – audience masking is optional

ClownProv

Manifested by Ken Hall and Isaac Kessler

Musical accompaniment by Erik Mortimer

Saturday Sept 23rd

2-MAN NO-SHOW debut their brand of madcap-absurdity at Play the Fool Festival – an experimental theatrical journey that puts YOU in the director’s seat!  

The absurd and unpredictable duo of Isaac Kessler and Ken Hall use high energy physicality to drive characters into absurd and surreal situations that are utterly jaw dropping. 2-MAN NO-SHOW attack every stage with their signature hyperphysical, hilarious and fourth-wall-breaking “ClownProv”-style that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. One of the hottest North American acts around, the unpredictable tag-team duo take you on a bizarre ride of undefinably funny comedy. Tired of talking heads? So are we. Known for their signature hyperphysical, hilarious and fourth-wall-breaking “ClownProv” style, they wow audiences and win hearts wherever they go.

READ MORE ABOUT THE ARTISTS…

BUY TICKETS

Festival Welcome & Opening

Thu Sep 21 7:00pm
45 mins | All Ages FREE This is an outdoor event. Masking is optional.

Join us on the Play the Fool Festival outdoor patio at the Backstage Theatre for shenanigans, the magic of Jay Flair, and of course a toast to welcome our awesome artists! Then stick around for the 8 pm opening of 2-MAN NO-SHOW.

Our festival gathers in Amiskwaciwâskahikan, known colonially as Edmonton, Alberta. This land is the traditional territory of many Indigenous People, the First Nations of Treaty 6, and the Metis of Region 4. This land has thousands of years of history; it was land that was fought over, land that gives back, land that continues to hold the spirit, strength, love, stories, and traditions of First Nations Peoples.In the spirit of the treaty and its oral agreements we acknowledge that we all benefit from this land and it is our duty as treaty people to nourish and respect it. 

Triple Bill

Fri Sep 22 7:00pm
Sat Sep 23 5:30pm
60 min | Ages 14+ $10-$25 Mask friendly – audience masking is optional at these performances

The Problem With Opera

Edmonton, Alberta

Ages 10+

Red-nose Clown/Musical

Content Warnings: Reference to minor injury, reference to disembowelment.

Created & Performed by Terry Knickle

Directed by Mark Vetsch

Tchotchke the Gig’s got problems! And they’re ready to sing about it. After all, inside each one of us is a dramatic tenor waiting to be the last one to belt it out. This work is derived from ‘Tchotchke the Gig in Sweet Milk’ originally created with the support of the 2022 Play the Fool Festival’s Rookie Cabaret program and Christine Lesiak

The Radical Re-Education of Generation Z, Internet Hygiene and Being AFK

Batrabbit Collective, Edmonton, Alberta

Ages 14+

Neo-Buffon

Written by Abby McDougall & Dayna Lea Hoffmann

Performed by Abby McDougall

Directed by Dayna Lea Hoffmann 

The veil between the internet and our reality is stretched thin and we need to acknowledge it. The spokesperson for Gen Z, ily, will be examining this through a multimedia neo-bouffon monologue where she takes us through personal experiences that allow us a glimpse into her anxiety-inducing online world, internet hygiene, and how she manages her online persona in tandem with the one she uses IRL. ily (Abby McDougall) sits on a swivel chair on stage, presenting her wildly important lecture in the style of ted talk/tight-twelve. She starts a projector and an equally unhinged PowerPoint presentation slides by as she monologues. The visual aid helps the audience get in touch with ily’s inner thoughts and a generation far removed from reality. 

The Routine

Joylyn Secunda, Vancouver, BC 

All Ages

Mime/Clown 

Created & Performed by Joylyn Secunda

Directed by David Secunda

Mime coaching from Dean Evans

In The Routine Joylyn Secunda finds the comedic catastrophe in life’s futility. A lonely  office worker faces the countless slings and arrows of a pointless job. But unexpectedly  they tumble into a magical world. 

“Secunda has great comedic timing” — Mooney on Theatre 

READ MORE ABOUT THE ARTISTS…

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The Festival Spectacular Cabaret

Fri Sep 22 9:00pm
90 mins + intermission | Ages 18A $10-$25 Mask friendly – audience masking is optional

Comedy madness where anything can (and does) happen!

Hosted by 2-MAN NO-SHOW’s Ken Hall and Issac Kessler. Laugh yourself silly shenanigans! We never know what they will get up to when over a dozen of our favourite fools take the stage to entertain and amaze. 

Featuring (mostly) BRAND NEW works from: 

  • Dayna Lea Hoffman & Katie Yoner
  • Satan & Pastor Greg, aka Rebecca Merkely & Adam Keefe
  • Michael Kennard
  • Gabby Bernard
  • Jake Tkaczyk
  • Hysteria Winthrop, aka. Sophie May Healey
  • Candace Job
  • Alberta Gothic
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The Rookie Cabaret

Edmonton / Amiskwaciwâskahikan
Sat Sep 23 9:30pm
60 mins | Ages 16+ $10-$25 Masks required – audience members are required to wear masks

Your wild & unexpected Saturday Night. 

This festival favourite is back! Play the Fool’s Rookie Mentorship Program showcase features six emerging clowns, physical comedy artists, and experienced performers experimenting in a new style. Artists work with festival director Christine Lesiak to take their idea from concept to stage. 

Past participants have gone on to expand and develop the work they started in the Rookie Cabaret into full-length shows.

Help us keep this program going ADOPT-A-ROOKIE today!

Featuring:

  • Spore in Mushroom on Humans, by haley brown
  • Mei Xing (美星) in A Lamb’s Jingle, by Blue Chu
  • Tortured Artist by Wringy Star, aka Tori Kibblewhite
  • Hootie in It’s High Noon Somewhere, by Aidan Laudersmith
  • Dick Dickson, PU, aka Sammy Lowe
  • Spring in Gemini Season, by Anna Pratch

Generously sponsored by Grindstone Theatre School

READ MORE ABOUT THE ARTISTS…

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Suspended Studio Saturday

Edmonton
Sat Sep 23 5:00pm

 

On Saturday, glass artist Leah Kudel from Suspended Studio will show and sell her fine glass art in our Play the Fool lobby. Leah Kudel is an internationally acclaimed, multi-disciplinary artist and designer with a studio practice based in glass, she was featured on Season 1 of Netflix’s Blown Away

 

 

Suspended Studio logoSuspended Studio is Leah’s Edmonton glassblowing studio and gallery space. It hopes to be a place of creative inspiration, joy, and sustainability! They believe in quality items that are well-designed, well-made, and that will bring beauty to your everyday life. suspendedstudio.com 

With thanks to the Alberta Craft Council.

 

Clowns in Conversation: Panel Discussion

Tile image of photos of panellists
Sun Sep 24 1:00pm
90 min | All Ages FREE Online Watch online at playthefool.ca

But why is it CLOWN?…

Watch Here or on YouTube

An online panel discussion moderated by Jake Tkaczyk. From movies to TV to TikTok to the stage, clown and physical comedy are everywhere. But what makes clowning distinct from sketch, stand-up and other forms of comedy?

Panellists:

  • Aitor Basauri of Spymonkey, UK
  • Ingrid Hansen of SNAFU, Victoria
  • Dayna Lea Hoffmann, Batrabbit Productions, Edmonton / Amiskwaciwâskahikan 
  • Jacqueline Russell, Wee Witches Productions, Calgary / Mohkinstsis  

Watch online right here! Link live on Sept 24th at 12:30 MST.

Live Captioning by Tanzi Reule

Moderated by Jake Tkaczyk

Digital Stage management Lindy Mullen

READ ABOUT THE PANELLISTS…