The Queen’s Players show must go on

Drunken variety show goes off-campus to find new venue for fall performances

Simon Paabor is the director of this fall’s Queen’s Players show, titled An Inconvenient Truth About Clark and Dog.
Simon Paabor is the director of this fall’s Queen’s Players show, titled An Inconvenient Truth About Clark and Dog.

This fall’s Queen’s Players performance might refer to Clark Hall Pub’s closure, but the show’s director, Simon Paabor, isn’t giving anything away.

“That’s all I’m going to tell you,” he said with a laugh, after revealing the show’s title.

An Inconvenient Truth About Clark and Dog is currently in rehearsals, gearing up for two weeks of shows in November at Time to Laugh Comedy Club at 394 Princess St.

The variety show, which combines music, comedy and heavy drinking, has three performances per year that sell at weeks in advance.

Clark Hall Pub’s closure earlier this summer meant Players would have to look elsewhere for a venue after 27 years of Players performances at Clark came to an end.

“[Time to Laugh] is the closest thing we could find to Clark, by which I mean it’s a kind of intimate space, with a bar,” said Paabor, ArtSci ’06. “Primarily the loss of our venue gave us the opportunity to reevaluate and see what can be done, to work hard to squeeze more in.”

The loss of the venue was precipitated by an incident at Clark Hall Pub on June 15, when a patron of a Players show reportedly knocked down a stone pillar outside the pub.

“Things happened at that bar. It’s a bar, and unfortunately there may have been an incident around Players,” Paabor said. “I don’t know if it was the major reason for the closing, no one has ever contacted me regarding it.”

Paabor said he did meet with Bruce Griffiths, director of residence and hospitality services, who holds the liquor licence for the University, to discuss finding a new location and any concerns he had regarding the show.

“His concerns were largely with the bars themselves—how to deal with over-serving, how to deal with extra patrons,” Paabor said. “He had concerns about Players, but they were the same concerns that he would have about a live event at a licensed setting.”

Despite logistical concerns, Paabor said he’s excited about this fall’s show. Every Players performance features a 12-member cast of six men and six women. This year, there are no returning cast members.

“I think it’s gotten a little bigger this year, the style of songs are a little more epic and the characters are going to be a little more distinct,” Paabor said. “What we tried to do was have a satire, to have a witty script. We’ll see how that plays out.”

And while the show isn’t taken as seriously as other theatre productions on campus, Paabor said the cast works hard at rehearsal.

“While not necessarily Chekov, it’s one of the best times you’re going to have on stage. I’ve been in other productions at Queen’s, so I’m speaking from experience,” Paabor said. “You gotta make things simple, drill things into [actors’] minds, so that they can do it in a less than ideal state.”

That “less than ideal” component of the show is another aspect Paabor is working on. He compares recent Players performances to the Jimmy Fallon years on Saturday Night Live.

“It wasn’t funny cause it was funny, it was funny because the guy was laughing,” Paabor said. “Hopefully we’re looking to rein that in a little bit. I think from a creative standpoint, it got a little too sloppy.”

Paabor is hoping to balance both the artistic side of the event and the tradition of drinking.

“The drinking aspect has been there from almost day one. I think it got away from us a little too much,” he said.

This year, Players will be reining in not only its cast members, but its audience as well.

“We have people showing up to the show—we actually have more problems from AMS clubs than any other group—having been to a few too many parties beforehand,” Paabor said. “We’re going to be very careful at the door this year for people showing up in an incapacitated state. If you couldn’t get into the QP, you can’t get into our show.”

An Inconvenient Truth About Clark and Dog runs from Nov. 7 until Nov. 10 and Nov. 14 until Nov. 17. Ticket sales to be announced.

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