The Fringe Festival is coming up, and all the buzz is about the show 32 Short Sketches About Bees. Sorry, I couldn't resist that horrible pun. But still, this show sounds like unusual entertainment.
"We started out with the title, then we reverse-engineered it," explains cast member Christopher Leveille of the process. "And then we realized we would have to pack 32 sketches into 50 minutes. So no sketch can be over a minute forty five seconds, meaning this show is going to have a rather brisk pace."
The title is a pun on the 1993 Canadian film 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould. But how to make every sketch about bees? "All the sketches are connected to bees in some way, not just the honey bee, but also people like Bea Arthur, Buzz Aldrin," explained Chris. "For instance, one of the runners is based on those Shoppers Drug Mart commercials that Bea Arthur did in Canada in the '80s."
The troupe is made up of a conglomorate of well-known Toronto sketch comedians, pulled from the troupes O Dat Dum and Dame Judy Dench, and from the Second City and Bad Dog theatres. Most of them are veterans of other Fringe shows.
"We just started brainstorming about bee hives, colonies, lists of bee facts," said Chris. "Some of the sketches may have an eco message, some are just silly and fun."
"Will there be any giant bee costumes?" I ask.
"I'm sorry, Paul," replied Chris, "but I really can't give away all our secrets." 32 Short Sketches About Bees plays from July 6 to July 16 at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, 79 St. George Street. Check facebook.com/beesx32 for details.