Murder, Mayhem, and Improv: Welcome to Broken River

Wild Heart Acres Episode 1 Wild Heart Acres Episode 1

Montreal Improv’s been pretty busy this fall with shows such as IMPRO-niversary and the MPROV festival, so it’s only natural that they’d keep the party going with yet another fun ride set to premiere in November.

voting MONTREAL IMPROV by Victoria Shinkaruk

voting MONTREAL IMPROV by Victoria Shinkaruk

Broken River by Wild Heart Acres, the same team that brought out the Western Drama earlier this year, is a small-town murder mystery series featuring a “young and naïve” detective as the protagonist of this story.

Wild Heart Acres Montreal Improv Photo Michael Bakouch

Wild Heart Acres Montreal Improv Photo Michael Bakouch

Because Broken River is a series that will be totally improvised live, it’s a great way to learn more about each of the characters that spontaneously pop up out of actors> minds. At the same time, the audience can actively play with the idea of being invested in what happens week-to-week when stories collide.

Below is the interview with Brent Skagford an improviser, actor and writer. He performs, teaches and coaches at Montreal Improv and occasionally performs with Marc Rowland in a duo known as Easy Action. Here are some highlights of what to look forward to, from Brent, the director of the show:

Easy Action Montreal Improv Photo Michaell Bakouch

Easy Action Montreal Improv Photo Michaell Bakouch

Althea Wilson-Forbes (AW): Will it be small-town, present-day, where the action for Broken River takes place?

Brent Skagford (BS): We’re setting it in the early ‘90s. I’m not entirely sure why. Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and True Detective were big inspirations for the show. There’s something about the aesthetic of both Twin Peaks and The X-Files that I love. I think there’s also something interesting about the procedure of a mystery before the ubiquity of cell phones and the Internet. And ‘90s outfits!


AW: Music was a key component of Wild Heart. Is that true for this show as well?

BS: Absolutely. Music is an essential part of creating the tone of the show and in highlighting the big emotional moments.


AW: Will the story be a twist on the detective genre, focusing on humour?

BS: A big challenge for us, when putting this show together, has been in finding a balance between the darker tone of the mystery genre and the humour that you’d expect from an improv show.

We want to be able to really deliver on the darkness of the genre – to genuinely create a compelling mystery, with chilling suspense and moving pathos. But then the fact that it’s improvised will always create a lot of hilarity.

That’s where the real fun of doing a show like this exists: in the chaos, in the mistakes, and in the discoveries that the improvisers make in the moment, right there on the stage, in front of an audience.

Broken River premieres on Sunday November 2 at Montreal Improv Theater (3697 Boulevard Saint-Laurent) at 8:30 pm. Tickets: $8 (available at the door) For more information click HERE

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