Let’s Start A Country!, playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, is an unusually-formatted show that works. Enlisting the participation of the audience in a bid to create a micronation out of the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace, with the help of a well-picked cast including writer Gerard Harris, manages to make people laugh and think at once. Harris explains just how Let’s Start A Country! came about.
1) Describe your show in 7 words or less.
A separatist comedy that’s not about Quebec
2) What sets your show apart from other Fringe shows?
See above. Also there are no other shows where the audience leaves Canada and starts their own country for only ten bucks (Canadian)
3) What is the most interesting or surprising thing you have you learned in the process of developing the show?
How hard improv is for me. I wrote an improv show for someone who doesn’t do improv. I’m surprised and relieved at how gracious Canadians are when hearing a Brit make jokes about their country. I came up with the idea in part to try to do something in a theatre that isn’t usually done and then try to solve the problem of how to do it.
4) What events or experiences in particular inspired you to create this show?
Someone once asked me what I thought about living in Canada and I realised that I don’t really live in Canada, I live in Quebec and I don’t really live in Quebec I live in Montreal and even then mostly just an eight block radius of the Plateau and Mile End, so that’s my terrain. I’m also an immigrant several times over and the child of immigrants of immigrants of immigrants and so on. Nowadays my stuff lives in Montreal but I have no home address for the time being so I feel a touch of statelessness.
5) What are you hoping people will take away from your show?
It’s a purposely absurd and expensive-to-put-on geopolitical satire, so laughter and merch, ideally.
July 11 at 06:15 PM
July 12 at 04:00 PM
- Let’s Start A Country! is playing until July 12 at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace. (30 Bridgman Ave.)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor St. West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Photo of Gerard Harris and Al Lafrance by Louis Longpré.