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The Queen's Players is a sketch comedy/improvisation/rock and roll troupe that performs at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario in Clark Hall pub, Alfie's pub, and Time To Laugh Comedy Club. It produces three productions every year: one in the fall, one in the winter, and one show in the spring. The shows are cast by and with Queen's University students in a selective process each term.
The winter and fall shows differ from the summer show in various ways. The shows produced in the winter and fall semesters consist of a cast of 10 or 12 students, an even number of male and female characters (usually celebrities), and are each ten or twelve scenes long, following a continuous plot. The summer show is in the form of a sketch comedy show with a smaller cast ranging from seven to nine performers performing various scenes written by the actors themselves. Both formats of the show alternate each scene with a rousing rock, rap, or pop song sung by one of the players and performed by the show's live band.
The first manifestation of the Queen's Players was as the Queen's Drama Guild, established in 1900. Prominent members of the Guild included Lorne Greene and Robertson Davies. It was not until the 1980s that the troupe adopted the format that now makes them so popular on the Queen's campus. The shows draw characters from popular culture and has them descend upon the Queen's Campus. Each show is given a witty, often bawdy title that reflects some of the key characters in the show. Furthermore, the shows are marked by their often low-brow, ultra-sexual humour.
Note Worthy - Queen's Players had to be moved to Time to Laugh comedy club after, during a show the previous summer, a Queen's football player body checked a burly friend of his through one of the concrete pillars leading up to the entrance of the venue. No one was harmed in this incident, with the exception of Clark Hall Pub management - who for the most part lost their jobs.
The vocal abilities of the Queen's Players and the musical prowess of the band make it a consistent success. The show has proved itself to be the most popular show on campus, often selling each of its eight performances within the morning tickets go on sale. When the show was still at Clark Hall Pub, Queen's students were known to camp outside Destinations (Now Tricolour) for several hours or even the night before tickets go on sale.
The Queen's Players band is referred to as "The Bod Squad," "Twisted Mister," or "RadioSled," mainly because of the glowing and impressive collective physique shown to audience members as guitar players declare "Tarps Off" before the last act of the show. At this point, all members of the band take their shirts off. A recent development in this is the phrase "Shibi," which loosely translates to "Tarps off-Beers in."
Every term there are two awards given: The Order of The Gouda, to the cheesiest performer, and The Orca, awarded to the band member who wails the hardest.
Profits from Queen's Players shows go towards local charitable causes, last year raising over $20,000.
Recent productions include:
- Gump, Rice, Three Times a Lady Di (Winter 2005)
- I'm Sorry Blanket Jackson, I am for Rita McNeill (Spring 2005)
- The Passion of the Ice: Cruisified (Fall 2005)
- Celebrity Jeopardy (Winter 2006)
- The Chronicles of Sharon, Lois and Batman (Spring 2006)
- As The Wayne's World Turns (Fall 2006)
- McBeal or No Deal (Winter 2007)
- Sesame Street Fighter (Spring 2007)
- An Inconvenient Truth About Clark and Dog (Fall 2007)
- Dial Whoopi For Murder (Winter 2008)
- Jesus Christ Super Star Wars (Spring 2008)
- A Shot at McLovin' With Tila Tequila (Fall 2008)
- Friday: The 13th Nightmare Before Christmas (Winter 2009)
- Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Night Live (Spring 2009)
- Miley... Why So Cyrus? (Fall 2009)
- Bill Nye-lence of the Lamb Chop (Winter 2010)
- Brocean's Eleven (Spring 2010)
- 2012: The Oprah-calypse (Fall 2010)
- One Night In Perez (Winter 2011)
- Enter Pacman (Summer 2011)
- Never Say Neverland Ranch (Fall 2011)
- 'Til Death Star Do Us Part (Winter 2012)
- HBOMG (Summer 2012)
- 00-Bama: Quantum of SOLUS (Fall 2012)
- The Wood, The Chad, And The Fugly (Winter 2013)
- Criss Angels and Demons (Summer 2013)
- Call of Judy: Modern Daycare (Fall 2013)