As a 1980’s teenager I watched soaps with excitement - in the daytime - The Days of Our Lives; and at night-Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon Crest. My favorite was Knots Landing because it had the most handsome actors (Alec Baldwin got his start on this show) and had the gorgeous Donna Mills who played the deliciously spiteful Abby Cunningham. Oh to live on that California cul-de-sac….
It is not very often a crazy television dream gets to become a person’s reality, but it actually has for me as the parody comedy New Vintage Soap Opera I have been doing on stage has now been picked up as a television show called As The Sun Burns. Pinch me!
New Vintage Theatre has been performing a parody improvised soap opera since July. This improvised art form is definitely not our innovation; in fact you can find an improvised soap in most major cities in North America. The first one I was introduced to was Die-Nasty in Edmonton, a cult hit for many years and one I was lucky enough to have a guest appearance in the 90’s. My soap opera co-creator is Frank Takacs and he was a member of a similar troupe called Dirty Laundry in Calgary.
The way New Vintage Theatre devises our soap opera is to meet once in advance to determine our major plot points and then on show day we quickly run our scenes one hour prior to our show. It is terrifying, unscripted adrenalin for the performer and very, very funny for the audience. All actors have to do training in improvisation in our classes so they know how to manage the crazy unexpected nature of this theatre form. We have been having great crowds come out to our monthly shows, held at The Black Box Theatre, which are a mix party, cabaret and comedy show with draws and other surprises.
In November I got a message from a young intern from SHAW TV asking if I would be interested in writing and producing a show for him to work on. Stretched already with an extremely busy schedule I suggested turning our existing soap opera into a television series. This request turned into a small meeting, larger proposal and-boom!-before Christmas we have already had two shoots at the SHAW Studio with a fantastic team of professionals as well as interns who are learning the craft. As The Sun Burns is a highly rehearsed, scripted version of the scenes that come out of our live show all filmed in a simple studio set.
While As The Sun Burns deliberately doesn’t have the grandeur and cache of soaps of old (one table, two chairs and curtains), it is tremendously exciting for Kelowna to have its own televised soap opera, featuring local actors, locations and plot lines. It is designed to be pure cheese and is very silly; and like every art form we hope you tune in as we fine tune our skills on camera to make it as exciting to watch as Alec Baldwin and Donna Mills, or just maybe we will be launching the careers of a new breed of soap stars.
We are serious about this comedy and hope you tune in on SHAW TV on Monday afternoons starting in January 2015 or catch us online any time. Our next live show is on New Year’s Eve and will be a fun evening of comedy, music, prizes, snacks and bubbly. The doors open at 7pm, show at 7:30 with a break for fireworks at 9pm and a return for an after party all the way to midnight. Tickets available at www.selectyourtickets.com
As The Sun Burns airs Mondays in January on SHAW TV and online.
New Vintage New Year’s Soap Opera is on Dec.31 at 7pm, The Black Box Theatre. Advance Tickets are $25 from www.selectyourtickets.com or $35 at the door.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.