Connection Please! is the name of the next show by White Rock-based comedian – and comedy therapist – Lizzie Allan.
It may be a little early for a Valentine, but Allan, founder of Hilarapy, describes it as a “chilly February” opportunity to “warm your funny bones and give you a humorous hug from six feet away.”
And it hews to the same principles she has established with Hilarapy, a therapy program in which individuals learn to come to terms with trauma by using it as the raw material for humour.
The one-hour, one-woman show comes to the intimate space of the Peninsula Productions black box theatre in Centennial Park – with full pandemic protocols – at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3; Friday, Feb. 4 and Saturday, Feb. 5 (doors at 7:30 p.m.).
The Feb. 5 performance will also be filmed for a forthcoming television project, Allan noted.
In typical down-to-Earth style, the British-born professional stand-up comedian will blend her edgy humour and dry wit with the kind of “shame-busting, stigma-smashing” honesty that distinguished her 2019 show (Un) expecting.
In her comedy, Allan has previously shared the struggles she had with mental health and substance addiction – prior to achieving well over a decade of subsequent sobriety.
In (Un) expecting she was also very frank – and very funny – about the experience of being in a same-sex relationship and wanting to have a baby, while dealing with her own internalized homophobia.
Connection Please! is aimed at allowing people the opportunity to understand that they are not alone; that we all have our own sets of problems and struggles and that we can all benefit from tenderness and forgiveness, Allan said.
“We find connection by being open,” she said. “I’ll be letting people into my own life and challenges; dropping into the real and speaking from the heart, while still being focused on keeping it funny.
“It’s partly why I’m doing what I’m doing,” she added. “I have a passion for shining light on hard to talk about subjects.”
Allan acknowledges that in expressing vulnerability and empathy she is working outside of the usual “laugh at any cost” stand-up comedy approach.
“There can be such a toxic atmosphere in the comedy scene,” she said. “It can be very superficial.
“My comedy is coming from a place of wellness. I’m looking for a different space for comedy to exist – a new and more mutually beneficial space.”
Speaking of spaces, the black box theatre created by Peninsula Productions particularly lends itself to comedy, Allan said, which tends to thrive on smaller audiences and the ability of the performer to ‘read’ and play to a room.
She said that while she and her Hilarapy courses adjusted rapidly to the realities of COVID-19 – and the opportunities of online communication – she is still looking forward to “getting back into a room with real people,” even with all of the pandemic precautions in place.
“For me, as well, it’s a bit scary – to get back out in public and show myself again,” she confessed.
“But I know some wonderful things can happen when you do.”
Seating is limited for the shows – which are offered as a non-alcoholic event – and audience members must be masked and fully-vaccinated to attend.
The venue is in Centennial Park., next to the ice arena, at 14600 North Bluff Rd.
Tickets ($35) can be purchased online at hilarapy.com/connection-please/