Improv theatre gets the itch for April Fools’ Day

Conor Anderson and Jason Yokam, right, at Dundas Square yesterday.

Conor Anderson and Jason Yokam, right, at Dundas Square yesterday.

Guerilla theatre got involved with April Fools’ Days as Dundas Square was overrun by scratching performers for half an hour on Tuesday.

They call themselves Improv in Toronto. They are a branch of Improv everywhere who perform organized ‘missions’ throughout North America, which have included food court musicals, dancing on the subway and a mass freeze at the Eaton’s Centre, where participants stood motionless for a brief period of time. All members refer to themselves as ‘agents.’

This April Fools’ Day the group organized at Dundas Square, in the heart of downtown Toronto, and began to scratch themselves uncontrollably. At first a quarter of those involved began to scratch themselves, five minutes later another quarter joined in, within 10 minutes everyone was scratching uncontrollably. Jason Yokam was one of the ‘agents’ involved.

“I heard about it through him [Conor Anderson,]” Yokam said. “He heard about through Facebook.”

The event was organized by John Azevedo and Ely Henry; both are members of the group and have been involved in previous ‘missions.’

“The mission of Improv in Toronto is to give everyone who witnesses one of their happenings a funny story to tell,” Henry said. “Hopefully this event will bewilder anyone who witnesses.”

Improv in Toronto was not the only group up to April Fools’ shenanigans as West Jet announced a new feature on its aircraft. A press release stated that the airline was converting its overhead storage into sleeping compartments. According to spokesperson Richard Bartrem this has been the most successful April Fools’ joke the company has done so far.

“We had an internal contest,” Bartrem said. “A customer agent from Vancouver came up with it and we did it. It’s been just wonderful so far.”

While West Jet was convincing people that they could sleep on flights CBC radio’s Metro Morning had an idea of their own. With the Burj Dubai, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates surpassing Toronto’s CN Tower an idea was hatched by the show’s Jason Osler.

“It clicked on the subway,” Osler said. “I was doing research on the CN Tower last year when it was surpassed. I assume the role around here of humour guy so it was on my shoulders to come up with an idea.”

There was a man on the street asking pedestrians what they thought of the municipal government announcing they would extend the CN Tower in order to retake its place as the world’s tallest building.

“It had to be something that wasn’t an ongoing story,” Osler said. “You can’t do one about the TTC strike because someone might hear half of it and panic, it had to be harmless and clean because we’re a public broadcaster and it had to be Toronto centric. It had shock value but it was conceivable.”

Google got in on the fun with a new feature for its Gmail; send your e-mail from any time you want. It used flux capacitor technology to achieve this.

The Guardian newspaper out of London said they had found a species of Penguins that could fly. The town of Ely, Minn., released a statement through its Chamber of Commerce saying that Canada had offered to purchase the town and relocate it to Manitoba.

And the federal Conservative party took advantage of the day by stating on their website that ‘weak leadership – its no April fools’ joke’ with a picture of Liberal leader Stephane Dion.

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Posted: Apr 1 2008 7:31 pm
Filed under: News