Things I Learned at FNL!

April 14th –

The Good Friday FNL was really eventful!  Nyla Carpentier taught everyone some sweet pow wow dancing moves, and then we got ready for JCS movie-watching and sing-a-long.  Of course, you can’t have a movie without popcorn.  Apparently the steam from our popcorn machine sets off the fire alarm, though.  FNL guests (and the nearby homes) were ‘treated’ to the sounds of a really loud fire alarm, until our local firefighters got it all turned off.  What a way to meet your neighbours.  Sorry, all!  Glad it was a dry night, and thank you for your grace and good humour 🙂        

March 10th – 11th, 2017

March 10th FNL featured FNL piano player Matt Grinke, interviewed by his brother, Joel Grinke.  And this improvised piano/interview segment kicked off another 22 1/2 hours, where Matt performed every genre of music in a one-man piano marathon.  Yep, he was joined by friends – blues and jazz players, musical theatre singers, and Grandma bringing him sandwiches …. but he was on piano for 24 hours, as a fundraiser to support him getting to the Edinburg Festival Fringe with his improv pal, Alan Marriott.  Matt far exceeded his financial goal, and is grateful for the huge support of love from the community.   What did I learn this FNL?  Currency comes in all forms …. relationship, love, connection, time, prayers.  It was a 24-hour ‘FNL’ I will never forget.   

February 3rd, 2017 

February 3rd was a really snowy evening, but it was all warm with love and reflection inside FNL with Shawn and Kohei!  Amazing stories of transformation, and everyone was singing along with the moving ballads ….  Peace, love.  When we remember that is what we were born to be, we can be the healing of the world. 

January 27th, 2017

So, have you ever done something that really scares you?  Something that there was a real risk you could fail?  We were really nervous about changing our tried-and-true FNL format, but we knew it was time.  We’d been ‘improvising’ for 6 years, and we had lots of feedback that people were wanting to hear more from our artists, and thought improv, although really fun, wasn’t an ‘every Friday’ kinda thing.  Everyone always loves hearing Matt, and wanted to hear him every Friday.   …. So, we ‘stepped off the cliff’ and are try9ing ‘A New Thing’ ….. music and stories.  More time with our Guests.  Matt with a new band to open and close every Friday.  And ….. it was a remarkable opening night.  Our Guests, Illiteratty literally filled the space with energy and innovation.  Their stories of how they interpret ‘meta-folk’ as their ‘New Thing’ was fun, authentic and funny.  The ‘kitchen party’ pre-and post show felt like ‘home’.  We’re hoping we have the foundation to build a real FNL ‘community’ of people who love sharing, being ‘in the moment’ and being inspired by artists that love their craft. 

We don’t know where this will go …. but we know we will continue to explore and improvise.  We will pay attention to what we are called to do in this beautiful community, and continue to evolve FNL to be relevant, inspiring and engaging.  We are so loving exploring this experience with the lovely people we attract! 

Fall 2016

This fall at FNL has been a blessing of continuous learning experiences.  From Beverley Elliott’s reflections on childhood and choices we make further down the life path, through Nathen Aswell’s reminder to ‘do that thing that makes you sing’, and our most recent  FNL with Shawn Bullshields story of transition and leaning courageously into that which we are called to do. 

Ya gotta be here.   Life is not lived in a past remembered, or a future imagined.  It is lived now.  In the present.  Unscripted.

Many blessings.  In all of Lynn Valley United’s programs and offerings to the community:  Who ever you are;  Where ever  you are at in your spiritual journey …. you are welcome, accepted, loved here.  

May peace be with you,  


Summer 2016

The FNL production crew is working the programming for the 2016 – 2017 FNL season:  September 23rd, 2016 through May 2017. We are working with the feedback we’ve received from people who attend and participate in FNL, and are continuing to evolve the FNL experience.  We’ve heard you appreciate the musical guests – and would like their sets to be longer;  we’ve heard you like the interviews, and want them to be focused and inspiring; we’ve heard you like the improv, and that we need to mix up the styles to really keep it fresh.  We are going to be working with this feedback over the fall, and plan to launch in our NEW, BEAUTIFUL SPACE, January 2017! 

March 25th

If you were fortunate enough to be at FNL on Good Friday, March 25th … you’ll know it was a GREAT Friday.  Our special guest, recording artist Christopher (The Lion) Arruda, was truly remarkable.  His story of living his life’s purpose, and of what he has learned along his journey, was inspiring.  What we learned from Chris?  Believe.  Lean into joy.  Be who you were intended to be – don’t try to be anyone else. 

February 19th

We had a great time with Brett Wildeman on Feb 19th!  A folksinger and environmentalist from the Sunshine Coast,  this young musician really modelled for us living a life of passion and purpose. His music was honest and authentic, and he played ‘full on’ with our amazing Ad Libretto improvising troupe!  Life is an amazing journey, into which we are called to be present to ‘what is’.  We are blessed!   

February 5th, 2016

Our February 5th FNL with Ruby and Smith was fantastic!  Ruby’s hauntingly beautiful voice and Smiths ‘Van Halen on the Ukulele’ skills certainly demonstrated that we were experiencing the ‘Duke and Duchess of Ukes’!  Ruby taught us to sing the chorus of her beautiful song, with the quote from Martin Luther:  ‘Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.’  Indeed, a beautiful reminder to live life in the ‘now’ …

until next Friday ….. may you notice the beauty and abundance that is all around us,


January 22nd, 2016

Wow!  Welcome to 2016!  We have had two fantastic FNLs – Camilo on Jan 15th, and Illiteratty Jan 22nd!  We’re so grateful that we are continuing to welcome our ‘regulars’ as well as new people that are discovering the joy of spending Friday evening in celebration of ‘living in the moment!’   Illiteratty had everyone singing along with ‘you can’t step in the same river twice’.  So true!  Enjoy the journey.  Notice and cherish the experience. 


November 20th

On November 20th, the absolutely remarkable guitarist Skip Prest jointed FNL as our special musical Guest.  Skip has certainly ‘lived the dream’ of a internationally-celebrated rock musician, and was so generous in sharing his talent with us!  Sharing his love of music, and ‘playing’ with our improvisers (Alan, Liz and Shaun) and musical improviser Matt, the folks at FNL were dancing and cheering in the “iPhone Meltdown” finale of the evening.  Those moments of joy, celebration and togetherness are truly ‘the good stuff’.  I’m pleased we can bring this to the Lynn Valley Community. 


November 13th

Our November 13th FNL was the day that Paris experienced unexplainable tragedy.  In holding that truth of the world with the miracle of our experience of living in the peace and abundance of Lynn Valley, we know that each moment truly is precious.  What a gift to live each moment.  No script.  Leaning in to what is. 

I’m so grateful. 

October 30th, 2015

Our ‘night before Halloween’ FNL was truly magical!  We had our pal, Joel Eddington, back to do his unique and amazing magic.  We had a group of young folks doing Halloween crafts before the show,  we had a great showing of creative costumes, and we even had a spirited Halloween Dance-Off! 

What I was reminded ofwhat I learned again –  at this week’s Friday Night Live, was the magic that happens when people gather in a positive environment of respect and curiosity.  We were thrilled to have James come to see Joel at FNL – dressed as a magic deck of cards!  We were delighted to have baby Mina (Mina Mouse!) come and share her love of music, and bring mom Michelle and dad Matthew along with her.  Every Friday, as our community gathers with all of their energy, personalities, and spirit, I am grateful to be able to do this! The power of sharing positive experiences is transformative.  

The magic of community is there for us to experience.  How lucky are we? 


September 25th, 2015

Our first Friday back after our summer break was fantastic!  So may of our friends were back after the break, and had great stories to share.  So many new friends discovered us from a variety of sources – articles in the North Shore News, the Music in the Park event on Labour Day (where Alan and Matt hosted hundreds of people in a musical community celebration), word of mouth, the North Shore Rec Centre activity boards … So great!  We are grateful to all who are joining us on this journey!  See you next Friday!

June 12th

On our last FNL before our summer ‘dark’ time (we will be back!  Sept 25th we’ll be celebrating Culture Days with our first ‘Fall Season FNL’), I was so inspired by the energy sparking from the community that gathers for our weekly celebration of ‘spirit through the performing arts’. As I looked around the room at all the people who have joined us on this journey of community development and celebration, I am so profoundly grateful.  I feel that through the telling of our stories and sharing this weekly experience, we are knitting ourselves together.  From tiny babies, to those with close to a century of experience, to all those in between … we are spiritual beings on a human journey. How blessed we are to share Life. Unscripted. with these beautiful souls. No doubt.  We are changing the world every Friday in Lynn Valley.

Peace be with you until our paths cross again, 

May 29th

The metaphors of magic and ‘being in the moment’ are so especially profound for me when we have a magician as a guest at FNL.  On May 29th, we had the fabulous Joel Eddington as our FNL guest – a young magician who continues to wow us as he stretches his craft – learning and performing even more astonishing illusions.  The magician’s craft has the ability to take us to that place of wonder – what an amazing, joyfilled place! As Joel ‘played’ with young Jack, and had Jack magically transfer the effervescence from one pop can to another, we were amazed.  But equally amazing was the story of ‘being a hero’ that Jack told, and Alan and the AdLibretto company re-told in an improvised musical:  the story of Jack making his mom’s mother’s day gifts, including the wrapping paper.  Those improvised life moments truly are magic. 

Aren’t we blessed when we notice, and allow ourselves to be transformed? 

Until next week,

Peace and love,

May 22nd

Wow, I can’t even begin to describe the energy of our 100th show celebration on May 22nd!  If you were there, you know this was a once-in-a-lifetime event!  The line up to get in for 7 pm ‘doors opening’ was down the block.  Friends and fans of our ‘Local Legends of Rock’ band, and friends and fans of Friday Night Live came out to hear stories, enjoy music, and celebrate community in a fun and intimate venue. First-timers to FNL were wowed by the hospitality, and FNL regulars who had seen Al Harlow and John Hall as special guests at FNL previously, knew they would be in for a real treat.  I loved the diversity of people who came out – kids and their parents, Boomer-generation friends in groups, couples on date night.  If ever you wonder if we are all connected energetically, you just need to be in the type of experience we had on May 22nd.  You know that we are all connected, and that love can change the world. Thanks to Al, Ab, John and Rocket for sharing their gifts with us.   These precious experiences are transformative when we are truly present to what is! 

(Two standing ‘o’s on May 22nd, and FB posts asking ‘when can we get them back?’ …. perhaps we get a bigger venue next time?)

until next Friday,

Peace, love …. and rock’n’roll 🙂  

May 15th

Our special Guest, Beverley Elliott, sparkled at FNL on May 15th …. and improviser Shaun Stewart was in top form, as many students Templeton School made the trip over the bridge to see their Math Teacher in action!  From the stories from everyone in community, to Beverley’s songs, to Brian’s impromptu magic … I learned this:  whatever opportunities there are in uncertainty, the lesson to learn, ‘is probably love’. 

See you at the rock show at Argyle on May 22nd. 

May 8th

On May 8th, a glorious sunny day, Alan , Ellen, and Brian asked us the question, “what do you do on a first sunny day of the season?’  The answers ranged from torching ant hills, to going to the beach, to eating popsicles, taking Grandma on a picnic, swimming, and ‘just hanging out.’  The ‘Taking Grandma on a Picnic’ Opera was absolutely fantastic!  Lots of new folks joined us – family, friends and friends-of-friends. Loved having grandma & grandpa, mom & dad and kids … 3 generations … all celebrating life and enjoying the ride together. 

It is truly a gift to be able to share life with our Lynn Valley Community! 

Until next Friday,


May 1st

 Our May 1st FNL blew my mind.  Ad Libretto was great, as usual.  Andrew Wheeler was awesome.  Natch!   But, what really inspired me on Friday, was noticing how the Lynn Valley community is continuing to embrace this community project.  I am so humbled by the gifts of the people joining us on this journey.  One of our new volunteers, Floriana, graciously steps in to what ever operations role is required;  dad-of-Miller, Eric,  is helping us navigate t-shirt design for the upcoming Lynn Valley Day (where FNLers are going to play in the day!), amazing FNL supporter Bruce champions this work in so many ways; the remarkable Bill A ‘herds cats’ to help us get media Alan_Mina_Michelle2interest in our upcoming 100th FNL show. And all of this while Life is happening.  Joy with new babies (Mina, we love you!), and concern with health of loved ones (Alan, we love you!)  Thank you to all who are with us on this journey. I sincerely hope our FNL work fills you up and enhances your well-being!   


Until next Friday, 


April 24th

The Bard’s 399th birthday was April 23rd, and I think he would have been thrilled with Ad Libretto’s imagining what Will Shakespeare would have written if he collaborated with the 20th and 21st century writers of musicals!  Witches and magic abounded in the ‘never to have been seen before, and never to be seen again’ musical inspired by The Tempest, and our FNL community’s life stories.  I am so inspired by our FNL families – moms with their daughters, dads with their sons, moms and dads with their kids …. all sharing in the magic of experiencing professional performing arts artists interpreting life through the lens of musical improv. Unscripted.  Kids and adults alike share moments of laughter, surprize, joy.  That’s the good stuff, friends.

Until next week,

Peace and love ….

April 17th

Nyla Carpentier’s telling of the story behind the different styles of powwow dancing was amazing and illuminating!  And, so fun to get to try out this remarkable art form!  The creative team took us on a journey of learning about how we build relationships and experiences by being present with others.  Grandma Irene’s ‘life advice to Zombie Andrea’ was poignant, powerful, touching. And Cathy’s change in perspective from ‘man-bashing’ to ‘life-loving’ was a great touchstone for me …. to remember the joy and the energy in the song will help me during the week to keep my perspective on how abundant and joyful life is!

Until next Friday,


April 10th – 

Kids of all ages showed up to FNL to be wowed by Stephanie Elgersma’s amazing original puppet work.  Both the ‘old man’ puppet, and the Otter who MC’d ‘Are You Smarter than a Kid’, were such engaging characters, and Stephanie really had them come to life in front of our eyes.  Our players took us on a journey where we saw much of our angst comes from resisting ‘that age we are’, and wishing we were something different than just what we are.  And, discovering that happiness comes from experiencing being the age you are right now – whether ‘a kid’, or 20-something, or ‘almost 40’, or more. Life is not lived in a past remembered or a future imagined.  It is lived in the moment.  Unscripted.

Until next week –



April 3rd – Good Friday

Good Friday FNL was incredible!  Stories of life included bungee jumping, giving birth, flying through the air in a truck, and Lyla’s story – touching a crab and getting pinched!  Matt’s piano work and Blair, Liz and Alan’s renditions of songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice’s iconic musical – Jesus Christ Superstar made for a memorable FNL!  Things I learned at FNL – whether it is dealing with the inevitable, working through fear, or handling that unexpected ‘pinch’ – the only way through it, is through it.  We can’t turn away from life, or pretend it is not what it is. 

Wow.  Until next Friday, friends ….



March 27th

Such great ‘life’ moments at FNL on March 27th!  Marcus celebrated his 12th birthday with us … complete with dry ice ‘bombs’ ….. and our new friend, Ted, showed us ‘how it’s done on the catwalk’, when Ad Libretto and the Third and Main players were improvising around Ted’s story of becoming a runway model!   From promotions to job interviews, reflecting on our lives when celebrating the 100th birthday of another, to enjoying the beauty and wonder of  2-week old “FNL-regulars’ babies….. These moments help us remember the gift of life …. we know that each moment is a reason to celebrate.  Life is unscripted!  Our only response can be gratitude! 

Looking forward to celebrating with you again on April 3rd! 

March 20th 

March 20th was certainly a dark and blustery night outside in Lynn Valley … but inside Cardinal Hall at FNL, the experience was unquestionably energizing! Improvisers Alan, Liz and Brian absolutely brought their A-Game to the experience … using suggestions around ‘what do I do when it is dark and blustery in my life?’ Liz was singin’ in the rain with her absolutely ‘in the moment’ Cher, with sidekick Sonny (Alan).  And when Guest performer Trent Savage got everyone involved in singing The Temptations cover of My Girl, and Brian’s wife and little girl were singing along right there in the front row … well … it doesn’t get better than that, folks. Trent followed up My Girl with Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door …..  Make no mistake …. truly, this is heaven on earth.  This is the good stuff.   Life.  Unscripted.  Wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Until next week ….FNL_Groupie_Mar2015v3

March 13th

The 3 Kings were fantastic, as always!  These young jazz musicians had lots to teach about Life. Unscripted.  I love experiencing them listening to one another, responding to what is offered in the moment, and creating remarkable music. As they provided the improvised music for our improvising actors/singers, each musician (Peter, Nikko, and Matt) brought their incredible talents together to create scene mood, augment the energy, and even lift the ‘game’ of the on-stage performers.  I think of this:  as I can bring my gifts and ‘best self’ to every improvised moment of my life, I can positively influence those around me, and their experience in that moment. The moments become our lived experience. That’s how we change the world.

Until next Friday …


March 6th

Our fabulous magician friend, Joel Eddingtonrecently returned from Nicaragua … sick.  His spirit and his mind wanted to do FNL on March 6th, but his body had other ideas. So, Joel introduced us to his fabulous magician friend, Will Shelfox, who agreed to sub in for Joel on March 6th.  Long story short – the sold-out crowd was wowed by Will – his easy-going, authentic style, and his mind-blowing magic!  So, FNL now has a new, fabulous magician friend to add to our line-up. Thank you, Joel for introducing us, and thank you Will for playing with us! (Joel will return to FNL on May 29th! Yay!)  

I learned so much at FNL on March 6th: about generosity and community-building from our friend Joel, and about how parents and teens can co-habitate during Spring Break from our Improvisers.  Alan, Liz and Ellen created an amazing musical piece where the sloth of Netflix-binging was able to shift with a bit of magic … Everyone at FNL was singing along! I am reminded that engaging in life pays us back over and over again.  What a gift!  Our only response can be gratitude.

Until next Friday –


February 27th 

Our ‘New and Pre-Owned’ improvisers delighted a packed house on Feb 27th.  The ‘pre-owned’ part of the group were our experienced, world-class Ad Libretto group (Alan Marriott, Brian Anderson, and Shawn Stewart performing), and our “new” ones were Shelyse Cameron and Graham Chabot.  Funny, relevant and totally in-the-moment.  What I re-learned last Friday was this:  when we really pay attention to being in the moment, when we get the chance to embrace the possibilities of this moment, when we are with these people we are with now – we are rewarded by an amazing feeling of ‘all is right with the world’.  Shelyse drove down from Kamloops to be with us at Friday Night Live, and was so  energized by her work with us, she sparkled!  FNL team member, Mryna was at the ticket table for FNL on Feb 27th …. she told this story: “I had a tough day of intensely demanding work.  As I was driving to FNL, I was thinking about my day, and was not sure how I was going to get through the evening, since I was so drained and tired.  As soon as I started to greet the people coming in to FNL, everything shifted.  I felt lighter …. energized …. happy!”

Wow.  We are changing the world every Friday Night in Lynn Valley.

February 20th

Another amazing FNL helped us remember that we are all on the same journey – just at different places along the path.  Alan’s opening question of ‘what are you looking forward to?’ gave us stories of things people in Lynn Valley are looking forward to – vacations to far away places, a 50th High School reunion, getting a hip replacement, getting that math test ‘over with’, spring break from school, a friends birthday party.  Thanks to Murray and Marilyn who’s story of their meeting in high school through to  their shared 50th High School reunion was re-enacted, musically!  How awesome for their granddaughter to see this moment reflected through improv and music!  Life is unscripted.  Celebrating the magic of each experience is priceless.



February 13th

Love was definitely in the air for our Valentines eve experience with Sandra Mae!  It was so great to see so many parents with their kids out celebrating being in relationship with one another.  These are the date nights we’ll remember forever! 

Sandra Mae is a beautiful spirit with a remarkable voice.  Her performance helped me remember that we all have unique gifts.  When we share these with the world, we make the world a better place.


February 6th

Things I learned at FNL on February 6th …. wow!  I learned how being enthusiastically in the moment creates magic for others!  Our fabulous pal Eleanor brought a group of friends to FNL, and accompanied Simon’s soulful original music with an improvised ‘percussion section’ of their own.  As Simon observed in his interview with Alan, ‘listening to live music gives us the opportunity to experience magic’.  Experiencing Eleanor and her pals co-creating with Simon, lifted spirits and created joy!  Magic?  No question. 

Our children know these lessons … I’m grateful FNL helps me remember. 

January 30th, 2015

Our New and Pre-Owned Improv night was an absolute joy!  Looking at family dynamics through the lens of our improvisers allowed reflection and discovery in a truly joy-filled hour!  Our improvisers blessed us with exploring how different generations in families experience ‘being embarrassed’ and being uncomfortable in relationships.  What did I learn (or re-learn?)?  Life is unscripted.  Leaning into the experience helps us live fully in the moment!  What a blast! 

January 23rd 2015

This week’s FNL caused me to reflect on the lyrics of the John Lennon song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” containing the famous quote “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”  The amazingly talented Blake Havard was our special guest this week, who shared with us his lens of life through music.  Wow.  Talk about being absolutely present and in the moment! Life.  Unscripted.  This is the good stuff!

Friday Night Live is going into its third week at our new, albeit temporary, venue ….. and we’re learning more about engaging with and celebrating this amazing community of Lynn Valley.  This week we blew fuses as we continue to tweak the ‘production values’ of FNL, and met our local fire department, as someone had (inadvertently?) set off the fire alarm as we were packing up the venue for the evening!   As we improvise on this great adventure, we are immensely grateful for the Lynn Valley community improvising with us.  Peace and love. See you next Friday, friends!



October 24th – Magic and mentorship!  Who knew? 

by Chris Bjornson

Another fantastic night at Friday Night Live brought laughter to a tremendous audience. The skits involved a number of hilarious themes and situations, including a missing mummy at the museum and an amateur escape artist lacking the keys for his restraints. There was one particularly thoughtful moment that came  from our guest performer – a talented young magician named Joel Eddington.

October 24ths’ audience included a large number of children crowded onto the cushions in the front rows, giggling and talking excitedly in anticipation of the magic they’d soon see. And Joel delivered with optical illusions, card tricks, and mind reading that left the audience baffled and mystified. During his post-performance interview with host Alan Marriott, Joel was asked about the craft of magic, his interests and inspiration.

Joel replied that he had been performing for some time, and that he owed a great deal to his mentor, who he valued as one of the most important people in his life. A short while ago, Joel’s mother passed away, and his mentor was there to help him through his grief. The bond between student and teacher can be immensely strong, and to hear Joel’s story was moving.  Two men, unrelated by blood and divided by age and background, were able to forge such a link through the sheer love of their craft and their devotion to performing for their audiences. And to be able to rely on someone like that through one of the worst experiences possible really shows the power of the relationship.

We can tend to take some of the mentors in our lives for granted. These could be parents, teachers, or people who guided us and helped us develop as human beings. The fact is, they invest time in us because they want to see us succeed at what we enjoy doing. So next time you have a chance, when you’re with someone who’s helped you out in life, tell them how much it meant to you. Because you never know when you’ll get another chance to do so.




October 17th FNL –  Being in the moment and distracted? 

by Shauna Grinke

Well, our blogger, Chris, needed a night off from blogging, so, let me tell you about our October 17th show …… FNL is at its remarkable best when the improvisers, the guests and the audience all show up to ‘what is’.  Our uber-talented Artistic Director, Alan Marriott started the evening off by saying he had been distracted all week, and invited the audience to reflect on what had them distracted that week.  It seems like many folks are distracted in our over-scheduled lives, with endless story themes shared by the energetic audience (which included the ‘Third and Main’ company from Theatre Collective!  – Welcome!)  ‘Distraction’ threaded throughout the evening, with  our special Guest, Trent Savage using the music of Chris Isaac and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in his story telling. What I learned at FNL this week?  I can take those things that are distractions, and lean into ‘what is’, and get closer to that which really matters. In those moments, I can notice how  great it is just to have another day on this side of the grass!

Peace, all!

October 10th FNL – A message of enduring love from Island Sue and Highland Stu? by Chris Bjornson Tonight’s Friday Night Live was one for the record books. It had a lot of fantastic moments to be certain; a bar-style song about the classic tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons, the terrors of being lost in rural Vancouver, and a very nice mid-show performance from the talented loop-artist Chersea. The last scene, however, had the entire audience rolling in the aisles, as the improvisers came together to deliver an absolutely hilarious performance.  The scene was funny enough with the premise of Island Sue, the world’s greatest bartender, who worked in Hawaii. However, it was when her nemesis, Highland Stu, arrived that things really started heating up. Between the tense bartending duel, the subsequent proposal of marriage (because, as Highland Stu pointed out, that’s tradition for all bartending duels), and the classic ten-years-later epilogue, the scene was unrelenting in its humor. And, surprisingly enough, it managed to fit in a nice message as well, concerning the tough choices we make for the people we care about. Although true love is all well aTonight’s Friday Night Live was one for the record books. It had a lot of fantastic moments to be certain; a bar-style song about the classic tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons, the terrors of being lost in rural Vancouver, and a very nice mid-show performance from the talented loop-artist Chersea. The last scene, however, had the entire audience rolling in the aisles, as the improvisers came together to deliver an absolutely hilarious performancend good, Island Sue makes the difficult decision to leave the sun-dappled shores of Hawaii and move to… the fog-banked, damp and dreary plains of Scotland. Which, of course, is a transition that the actors mocked to no end. And it showed in the ten-year epilogue, when the two sweethearts, now in the middling years of marriage, are feeling a little strained by their marriage. However, they resolve to stand firm for the sake of their children, who both love their parents very much. Although not all married couples need to stay together, the fact that Sue and Stu think of their children first and foremost is something that all parents should do. Sometimes, marriage, parenthood and life itself aren’t easy. But the best parents tough it out and make sure that their children grow up happy and healthy, because that’s what families do.  

Friday Night Live:  Over the Rainbow …. more than just vanilla?  by Chris Bjornson  After my first night of Friday Night Live, I thought I had a grasp on what would be happening during my second night. However, I was mistaken! It was a completely different experience The first thing I noticed was that the improv troupe had different players: Alan, was there, but the rest of the players were different. On October 3rd, they had a variety of sketches (all improvised) as opposed to one long, improvised musical piece. The series of sketches were loosely tied to each other, and poked a great deal of fun at University students, as well as a twenty-minute mini-musical involving spelunking, creepy wizards and time travel. That’s all that really needs to be said about the latter. There was also a great performance midway through the show by talented musician, Sandra Mae Luykx, who showcased several original pieces as well as a very sweet and moving rendition of an old classic, Somewhere Over The Rainbow.   The mini-musical had a great deal of humour, with a very interesting message. One of the characters displayed constant reluctance to venture forward into the unknown, and the rest of the group confronted her on it. What ensued was a short but meaningful discussion on trying new things and the fears associated with doing so, using an ice cream shop as a metaphor. Why bother with over one hundred flavors if all you ever eat is vanilla? Eventually, after a soulful, jazzy song revolving around ice cream, the character was able to conquer her doubts and give new things a try. Which is a lesson we can put into practice more … even if it means venturing out of our comfort zones a little. What could be ‘over the rainbow’, if we dare to go there? See you October 10th!   Friday Night Live: An Improvised Night’s Dream (September 26th)   by Chris Bjornson   Last Friday, I attended Friday Night Live for my first time. Unsure of what it was about, all I had been told was that it was ‘a chance for the community to interact and have a fun-filled evening’. When I arrived, I immediately felt how warm and inviting the atmosphere was. The performers were mingling with the audience in the aisles, asking them about how their weeks had been going. The staff running the event were making sure that everyone was happy and comfortable, and the piano music was soothing and subtle.   The show began shortly after I arrived, and as it turned out, it was an improvised comedic performance, using the stories of what the audience had done that week as suggestions for the story. What ensued was a light-hearted, comedic piece told with a Shakespearian twist, following the theme of his classic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The sense of impish magic was told through enchanting flowers, potions and ferries (and yes, that last word is spelled correctly, as in BC ferries), but the overall arc of the story was greatly shaped by the audience. The play featured a Romanian roof-seller as a love interest, a charismatic prophet, and an apothecarian, all of whom were the results of audience stories and suggestions. To help relate the story to its audience, the performers were able to include all sorts of jabs and winks at politics and issues that those living on the Lower Mainland would easily relate to.   Overall, the story was a sweet piece about a young lady, Delphinia, growing into adulthood and exploring the world to gain experience in life. Along the way, she makes mistakes in love and is led astray by first impressions, but eventually, she is able to find true love and have a happy ending. To assist her in this regard were her parents, who thwarted the villain’s plans to lead Delphinia astray; as they did so, they were able to impart a nice message to the audience. Sure, people make mistakes in life, it’s part of growing up. Sometimes we choose poorly, and sometimes, we put our faith in the wrong people. But when we falter in life, the people who are close to us and care about us will always be there to help us get back on our feet. Usually, these people are family or friends, or maybe someone we least expected, but regardless of who they are, they’re always willing to lend us a hand and help us get through our problems, whatever they may be.

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