All these people stuffed into Vana White: Tim Carlson, Cari Leslie, Hannah Spear, RobYn Slade, Meags Fitzgerald, Kirsten Rasmussen Justin Collette and Mark Little.
It’s not what it sounds like. If you can believe it, it’s actually better. Vanna White is the name of the fifteen passenger van (it’s white, natch) that has been driving across Canada and the United States picking up the above improv actors to create The Tumbleweed Project ensemble; a road trip and performance experience that has reached its final destination at this week’s COMBUSTIONfestival. Taking place at Comedy Bar (www.comedybar.ca) the group will be performing together and as part of various festival projects throughout the week. (For a complete schedule see www.projectproject.ca) Reject van names included Serena Vanderwoodsen, Van Halen, Luther Vandross, and Vincent Van Gogh.
We talked to the group before Monday night’s semi-formal opening festivities in which they performed a short sampler set featuring failed-football-players-turned-paper-factory-workers, hyper-caffeinated absentee mothers and….well here’s how the conversation rolled:
SDTC: Many of you had never met each other before the trip. Was it weird to meet someone and then perform with them that night?
Tim: Not weird, because everyone we picked up along the way was so excited about the work that any sort of inhibition was sort of thrown to the wind.
SDTC: Was it gross to spend all that time on the road?
Tim: I loved the van. It was named by a friend of ours in Vancouver—she was throwing out a bunch of van names, and Alex [Tindal, the project’s tour manager] heard ‘Vanna White’ and just knew that was it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s perfect.
There were a few long hauls, driving-wise, when it felt really good to get out of the van and into a shower… I didn’t have a problem with the driving really, but I appreciate showering so much more now.
SDTC: Did the van smell bad? Were you bored in the endless Prairie wheat fields?
Hannah: It honestly didn’t smell bad. We sang a lot of songs—there were some songs we played over and over… lots of Lady Gaga, Major Laser, some Seal “Kiss from a Rose” action. We played games, we played “sex with ____ is like ____” a lot.
SDTC: Can I get an example of that?
Cari: Sex with Tim Carlson is like a swimming pool, it’s fun for the summer.
Tim: So you’re just making an analogy and explaining it. Sex with whoever is like… the internet because…
Justin: It’s full of viruses?
SDTC: How would you describe the show to someone who knew nothing about it?
Cari: It’s a lot of young, energetic people who like to have fun, and you just can’t help but get involved in that excitement.
Well we are fucking excited. YAY COMBUSTION! WOOO TUMBLEWEED!
FIND OUT MORE: http://www.comedybar.ca/