“Did you ever give her an orgasm?” “Well, not in the same room.” Ron Pederson and Matt Baram in Why, Julia?

In a city filled with stellar comedic talent, Toronto’s Matt Baram, Naomi Snieckus and Ron Pederson (aka The National Theatre of the World) are something special.

Last night they performed Why, Julia?, an improvised play inspired by playwright and “drag queen extraordinaire,” Sky Gilbert. As part of this year’s Script Tease Project, the show was a sold-out success.

The players began by getting suggestions from the audience, including Bill C-32, a student’s rejection from Ryerson University, and body parts being mailed to Parliament Hill.

You know, the usual.

The performers then read two pages of “teaser” script, and were off (book) and running.

The play opened with Snieckus as Julia, apparently bringing herself to orgasm with a colander. Pederson played her oddball ex, Roland, while Baram took the role of anal-retentive boyfriend Barry.

With Gilbert’s bawdy intro and the audience suggestions, the threesome wove a tale of love, sex and kitchen utensils, the like of which has never been seen onstage. Or probably will again.

Besides being top-notch improvisers, Baram, Snieckus and Pederson are skilful actors. It truly was improvised theatre: a blend of comedy and drama, as good in parts as any Mamet play.

The Script Tease Project runs till Sunday, with shows based on scripts by six more playwrights.

Illustration © Kurt Firla


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