The Georgia straight sells out (again) while others create a stir

As many of you reading this will already know, I worked at the Georgia Straight for many years. This week came the news that the Straight has been sold once again, and that the entire staff has been unceremoniously terminated without any advance notice. (Not by the new ownership, I should clarify; in fact, the new owners have expressed a desire to bring the paper back to what it was in its glory days, so there is a lot of reason to be optimistic.)

Last time the Georgia Straight changed hands, a large chunk of the editorial department was let go. (And some, including me, left for their own reasons.) A few of the former Straight staffers subsequently launched their own web-based venture called Stir, which has become a bastion of local arts coverage in Vancouver.

I recently got the opportunity to write a piece for Stir about the Improv Centre’s latest production, a murder mystery called Stage Fright: Murder at the Improv. You can read that here. Below is an excerpt of my interview with Artistic Director Jalen Saip:

Saip admits that there is a certain degree of risk involved in pulling an unproven non-performer up on-stage to interact with the pros, especially in the context of a production in which the improvisation is expected to make the audience laugh while simultaneously driving a narrative forward.

“You can’t really ensure that it won’t be chaos,” she notes. “Before the pandemic we had done some shows where we also used an audience member as our lead—like the Merry Kiss-mas show that was done here—and you really, truly never know what you’re going to get with an audience member. But that’s sometimes the fun of it. That’s how you can really show that you are improvising the story. You don’t know what they’re going to say or do.”

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Janet Smith at Stir for asking me to write this piece, and also to remind anyone in need of some assistance with word-wrangling that I am available for freelance assignments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s