Monday, July 1, 2013

The Question, July 1, 2013

Laugh, Cry, Improve, Grow
by Estelle Rosen
Dan Bingham is a comedian, writer and actor from Montreal. He studied Theatre at John Abbott College and graduated from Concordia University with a BA in Communications and a specialization in scriptwriting. As a stand up comedian he's appeared in the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival four times. His television appearances include "Blue Mountain State","18 to Life", and his own half-hour "Comedy Now" special on CTV. He will be featured in this summer's blockbuster film "White House Down" alongside Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum. Dan's first solo show "Adopt This!" was nominated for Best Script, Best Show, and won the Just for Laughs Best Comedy Award at the 2011 Montreal Fringe Festival.  He recently premiered his second solo show "Now That I Have Your Attention" at the 2013 Montreal Fringe where it was nominated for Best Script and Best Comedy.  
CHARPO: Since Adopt This! was performed at the 2011 Montreal Fringe Festival, how has it changed for its upcoming performance at Toronto Fringe? 

BINGHAM: Adopt This! was first performed two years ago, and since then it has not changed.  

But I have.  

I’ve done a lot of soul searching and learned a lot about myself, which helps better inform my delivery of the story.  I have more confidence as a performer and as a result I am more relaxed on stage, which allows for some audience play during the show.  And I’ve developed deeper relationships with my family, both adoptive and biological, which makes talking about them all the more an emotional experience. 

like Keyser Soze “POOF! They were gone.”

But there’s not much I want to change about the show itself.  For the entire year leading up to the show’s premiere, I had worked harder on writing that script than any project I’ve worked on in my entire life.  I gave up drinking and prayed to the creative muses every day so that it had a fighting chance. I had a brilliantly ruthless script editor, and even took several script notes from trusted friends “in the biz”.  We sliced and diced that thing down to the bare essentials, and in the end it was nominated for the Chapters Best Script Award.  

My director and I worked day and night for weeks leading up to the premiere.  We laughed and cried and improved and grew.  She gave me notes after every performance and I applied them all.  The comedian in me saw which jokes worked, which ones didn’t, and edited the show’s live performance accordingly.  All this helped drive the show to three standing ovations and to win the Just for Laughs Best Comedy Award.  

However, it’s been suggested by some people that Adopt This! could use some “improvement.”  That it needs a better writer, a better director.  It has great “potential”, but it’s “not quite there yet.”  Now to a certain point I agree.  It was my first solo show, so it’s only natural that it could use some improvements and I’d love to make it the best it can be.  But sadly when I asked these people exactly how can I do these things, like Keyser Soze “POOF! They were gone.”

Ideally I wish someone would say “Hey, I loved your show! Here’s a budget, let’s add a set, maybe some more visuals and let’s get this thing on tour.”  But that hasn’t happened yet so I’m doing my best on my own.  The show’s been pitched to TV executives as a sitcom idea and there’s definitely some interest there, so that’s exciting!  But save a few minor changes, Adopt This! in Toronto will be the same Adopt This! that people fell in love with two years ago in Montreal.  

Adopt This! is at the Toronto Fringe

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