Popalopalooza to raise funds  for QEH Cancer Treatment Centre

Sally Cole
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The Popalopalots appear in a handout photo. Troupe members are excited about Popalopalooza, a 26-hour improv marathon happening at The Guild on Friday, Jan. 29.

As performers, the Popalopalots are fearless.

Whether they’re creating fresh, on-the-spot improv or walking blindfolded through 100 live mousetraps, these brave comedy troupe members thrive when they’re under pressure.

So, in 2016, it’s no surprise that they are boldly going where no human on P.E.I. has gone before.

They are planning to perform for 26 hours straight as a comedy fundraiser for the Cancer Treatment Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.

“It’s a challenge. It’s also going to be an interesting psychological experiment. But I anticipate that I’ll be able to stay awake,” laughs Rob Macdonald.

Popalopalooza, is hitting the boards of The Guild in Charlottetown from Friday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. to Saturday, Jan. 30, 10 p.m. The group’s goal is to perform improvisational theatre continuously during that time period.

“It won’t be all of us all the time. We will each take turns. Then we’ll reunite for the final, two-hour show on Saturday from 8-10 p.m.,” says Macdonald, a member of the troupe that includes Jordan Cameron, Ben Hartley, Cameron MacDonald, Dylan Miller, Graham Putnam, Alicia Altass, Kelly Caseley and Alicia Arsenault.

The idea is to get people interested in the entire event not just the final two hours. So they plan to break the improv marathon into smaller chunks of time, with different themes.

“For instance, Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m., our plan is to improvise a complete, made-up movie. Saturday morning we’re planning on improvising some fairy tales,” says Macdonald.

Audience members can come and pay by donation on Friday and stay for as long as they want but the final two hours is a ticketed $15 event.

“We anticipating that there will be quite a bit of interest from the general public for the final two-hour show. People will want to see what kind of a mess we’re in (after no sleep),” laughs Macdonald.

The idea for their improv marathon started several years ago.

“I off-handedly joked that, ‘wouldn’t it be fun to do a 24 hour improv?’ At that time it was discarded and disregarded,” says Macdonald.

But, a few months ago that changed when troupe member Kelley Caseley reminded him that he had made that offer.

And she challenged him to revisit the idea.

“I thought it would be an interesting psychological experiment, if nothing else. And then the other Popalopalots signed on board to make it worthwhile to do.”

After some discussion, they decided to do it for charity.

“Everyone has family members dealing with cancer. And we have a couple of members who have first-hand experience of that.”

They knew that the QEH Cancer Treatment Centre was in need of heated chairs for the patients, while they undergoing chemotherapy.

“So we thought that would be a perfect charity to donate our time and efforts to.”

Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at scoletheguardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.

Organizations: QEH Cancer Treatment Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, The Guild The Guardian

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I.

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