Oh, the humanity!


Vancouver improv troupe the Fic-tionals are bringing their brand of irreverent comedy to the Rio Theatre with Improv Against Humanity.

The show is based on the cult card game Cards Against Humanity, which has players pair subjects with descriptions, often resulting in bizarre or suggestive combinations - think Apples to Apples but raunchier.

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Daniel Chai, a member of the Fictionals and producer of Improv Against Humanity, describes the show as not just an improv act, but a "live, interactive game show." There are even prizes to be won. the Fictionals invite audience members to go on stage and play a game of Cards Against Humanity, while The Fiction-als perform improvised skits based on the winning hands. The finalists go on to the final round, where audience members are asked to vote for the winner, who is then crowned "the most horrible person in Vancouver" for that month.

"The most bizarre skit we performed was 'What brought the orgy to a grinding halt?'" Chai said. "One of the players answered with 'quiche,' so the Fictionals tastefully acted out an orgy on stage, while another member walked around pretending to offer everybody quiche. The climax of the skit was one member American Pie-ing the quiche."

The Fictionals have been performing Improv Against Humanity at Commercial Drive's Cafe Deux Soleils since November, and have sold out all seven shows. The smaller monthly shows will continue at the cafe while the Fiction-als expand their act at the Rio Theatre beginning June 19, 8 p.m. and every third Wednesday of the month after that.

"We've fine-tuned [Im-prov Against Humanity] and built our audience in the fanbase, so I felt it was time to move to a bigger venue," Chai said.

Chai attributes the success of the show to a healthy improv community in Vancouver. The Fictionals host other monthly shows including Show Us Your Wits, Van Improv Fight Club and Pop-up Comedy Jam, while other local groups like Vancouver TheatreSports League and Second Storey Theatre have found similar success with pop culture-themed shows in the city.

"I think that the state of improv in Vancouver is fantastic," Chai said. "There's still room to grow, but the quality is world-class, I think it's up there with New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. The improv community is very collaborative and we're not just working to entertain but to build up the artistic community. Live arts can be tricky to get an audience to, but Vancouverites want to find new ways to be entertained - and that's what we're trying to do."

More details at riotheatre.ca. Drew_McLachlan@hotmail.com

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