In “The Making of ‘Warm Mess’,” featured at the 2016 St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival, Winnipeg-born performer Lar Vi invites audiences on an “intergalactic journey, a cosmic coming of age,” as they travel back in time with Hamhock Velvet, a “tender-hearted drooly bear, ice cream dreamer, fumblin’ rock n roll Santa-style fool,” to his musical origins. With generous support from co-star David Kaufman, Vi creates a deeply moving experience.

The character of Hamhock originated 3 years ago, as what Vi describes as “someone silly who made me laugh.” Since then, Vi has been continuously inspired by Hamhock, as he has matured into the co-star of “Total Liquidation” (2015) and hosted his own show at the 2016 Montreal Sketchfest. “I see Hamhock as a man who’s worked a lot of different jobs and had many colorful adventures; his journey is not a linear trajectory.”

Through Hamhock, Vi is able to transcend the expectations that audiences have for a “twenty-something girl,” and to bring them “out of time,” into a world that defies labels and classifications.

As Creative Director of Wolfinger Productions, Vi dedicates herself to presenting “magic realist feelings-comedies that de-stigmatize mental health, show empowering representations of gender and sexuality, exert responsible vulnerability, and explore the subversive power of joy and wonder in the every day, making theatre that is exciting, emotive collective expressions of living.”

Since 1991, the Montreal FRINGE has offered theater lovers an eclectic mix of creative and artistic expression. Vi has found solid support for her work at the festival.  “It is the inspiration for artists across the country… There is so much community here, so many opportunities to interact with one another.” Vi is particularly taken with the 13th Hour late-night parties, which she describes as “genuine icebreakers… opportunities for networking,” for the festival’s casts and crews.

Vi is equally grateful to Montreal, her home for the past 5 years, and its close-knit theater community. “There are just so many shows going on, like ‘Sketch Republic’ and ‘Joketown,’ so many opportunities to create your own projects here.” Vi, who’s also a stand-up comedian, appreciates living in a locale where “there’s a willingness to scare yourself, challenge yourself, to recognize your own limitations to break through.” In “The Making of ‘Warm Mess,’” Vi and Hamhock undoubtedly inspire audiences to do the same.

“The Making of ‘Warm Mess'”

Venue 6: Mainline Theatre

3997 boul. St-Laurent

June 9, 11-12, 14, 18-19

Tickets: $10/$8 reduced

About The Author

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Stephanie Ein is a Montreal-born writer & stand-up comedian. Since 2011, she has been writing about Montreal Comedy. As Boss Ein, she shares news, reviews and profiles of the city's dynamic comedy scene.

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