International Stinger played the Toronto Improv Festival over this past weekend.
It was the first time up there for many of us, and the first time Stinger has played there. After 4 consecutive years of playing DSIF we had decided to take a pass on attending again. We've had a good time in Chapel Hill, but we were due for setting our sights on fresher territory.
We drove up in 2 vehicles on Thursday and the drive was not bad at all. Not all of Stinger could make the trip, but alumnus Sayjal rode up with us to make it a 6 person set on both nights.
We brought our signature 'Afterparty' form to the festival, and we had a solid and delicious show on Friday night. It's safe to say it was one of our best sets and the audience loved us. Saturday night brought us to Bad Dog Theater, where we hosted our 'Open Court' show. We only had an hour time slot, so things were a little rushed, but everyone who played seemed to have a ball and appreciated the chance to jump on stage and mix it up with other improvisors who were in town.
It's only unfortunate that the entire festival suffered from a lack of organization, communication, and promotion this year. We played to an audience of maybe 30 people, but we felt so good about our show and got such a warm response that it more than compensated. We were all elated with our experience there.
And Toronto is a beautiful town. Much of it has the old-world charm of New York or Philadelphia, but it's a cleaner and more progressive city in so many ways. I did a good amount of exploring on my own on Saturday morning/afternoon and saw more of the social underbelly of Toronto. but it was all very rich and genuine and at no time did I feel that 'bad part of town' vibe. We all ended up staying at a ritzy downtown hotel called The Sutton, with whom Stinger J. Ben found a sweet weekend deal. Great move, that. From there we had easy access to all the culture on Bloor St. and Yonge. We couldn't have asked for a better location and we all would've liked to stay another day or two, just to explore more and enjoy more of what Toronto has to offer.
So, Stinger is moving onward and upward. We're looking forward to playing Toronto again next year, plus we're applying to play more U.S. festivals in the coming year.
The jury has decided; We're simply having too much fun to stop now.
EDIT: Stinger Biddle and Stinger Matt have also blogged about the Toronto experience.