The Church, 50 Dundas Street, Dunedin

22/03/2012 - 22/03/2012

Production Details


Canadian Improv Artist Brings Her Unique One-Woman Show toNew Zealand.  

This one-of-a-kind performance, created specifically forNew Zealandaudiences, relies on a unique combination of story-telling elements which includes improvisation, audience interaction, and a character that splits in two before your eyes.

Every show is different as the audience helps determine the results of the character’s actions. As well, select audience members are brought on stage to portray characters that interact with the heroine.

The festival will be held March 15th through the 25th in various locations throughout the city.

In addition to her performance, Lauren will be conducting a storytelling workshop at Allen Hall Theatre at theUniversityofOtago, on Tuesday, 20 March 2012, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Koha registration is limited to 20 participants via .

Lauren Stein is a fiercely funny woman, dedicated to her mission of enhancing lives through comedy and joy. Her goal for coming toNew Zealandis to spread her message of personal empowerment outside her nativeCanada. Her most recent one-woman show, Laurentina’s Funhouse, the tale of a circus performer who always wanted to run away and become an accountant, premiered July 2011 at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

She has been teaching improv weekly at Laurentina’s Improv Club for almost three years. Previous one-woman shows include Kalgaar, the cult recruitment speech that has toured toIsraelandHawaii; and SuperTour!, a performance installation for Toronto Nuit Blanche 2011.

Lauren has spent a month on a circus farm, co-produced two web series, and produced a theatre festival. She has completed the Summer Improv Intensive at Impatient Theatre Company; the Improvisation Program atSecondCity; and trained under Michael Gellman, Gary Austin, and Kevin Frank, among others, at the Artistic New Directions improv intensive programs in the Catskills. She received her BA in Drama from theUniversityofGuelphand is completing two LTCL certifications with Trinity Guildhall, a division ofOxfordUniversity, in Communication Skills and in Speech and Drama.

Laurentina’s Oddyssey
The Church – Restaurant, Bar & Cinema, 50 Dundas Street, Dunedin North 
22 March 2012, at 8:00 pm 

A very cosy, pleasant evening

Review by Terry MacTavish 23rd Mar 2012

The Fringe blurb tells us Laurentina is 30, single, unemployed, and still living with her parents. So she does what any sane person would do: she dabbles in witchcraft. This seems familiar territory, Bridget Jones stuff, except perhaps for the witchcraft.

I anticipate snuggling into a sofa in the lovely oldDundas StChurch, sipping wine as I laugh at the comical misery and bitter cynicism of someone who is even more of a loser than I am.

But this is somewhat different from typical stand-up comedy. Laurentina, also known as Lauren Stein, is an accomplished improviser, running her own studio inToronto,Canada. So instead of a rehearsed spiel that barely changes from venue to venue, each performance will depend on its audience. Laurentina not only solicits our advice on how to improve her life, she coaxes audience members up onto the small stage to play out the roles of prospective employer, flatmate, boyfriend.

People adore watching their friends perform, especially if there is a chance they will make fools of themselves, and the device goes down a treat now. The only drawback is that amateurs really can’t project their voices, but Laurentina is experienced enough to help us understand the gist of what is said, while encouraging the shy ones. This is improvisational theatre that is after more than a quick gag.

A punter tells me he’s here because he’s interested in witchcraft, and observes that I am the only one there not wearing black, but Laurentina, after a brief moment of stroking a cat witchy-poo style, says, “What the heck, that’s not really me,” and instead sets out on more of a self-help journey to set her world to rights.

I am rather sad when she abandons her attempt to conjure up a real spell, though admittedly it would be tricky considering Dunedin airport has confiscated one of her key ‘Elements’: genuine Canadian soil.

For a moment I worry this will become a motivational talk, as she intimates we can achieve anything we set our minds to without the aid of magic. Fortunately it seems Laurentina is too grounded for that. She quickly has the small crowd on her side, seeming so insecure that they rejoice when they succeed in steering her aright, relishing their own efforts in role play.  

Altogether this makes for a very cosy, pleasant evening, as Laurentina is not only a fine performer but disarmingly warm and non smart-alecky. She really seems to want us as friends, and at the end many take cards for her blogsite, chatting as if they have known her forever. Maybe it is witchcraft. 


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