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The Calgary Fringe Festival runs Aug. 4-12 at various venues in Inglewood. Every morning theatre critic Louis Hobson will choose his best bet for the day. Here is his pick for Monday.
They Must Have Smoked might just be the most unique, daring, adventurous offering of this year’s Calgary Fringe Festival because the comedy, created in Calgary, is in Mandarin with English subtitles on two TV monitors.
Written by, and co-starring Billy Kairan Guo, it’s based on an actual incident. A young Chinese student took a trip back to China to visit his family and friends but tested positive for COVID so he was quarantined in one of the special COVID hospitals for three months. In this version, it’s two students, and they are returning to China to visit the hospital where they were quarantined before it is demolished, as so many of those impromptu hospitals were.
Play director Nick Fangzheng Wang says one of the students lost his heart and the other his visa and both are trying to reclaim them.
The team of international students, all in their 20s, who created the show are from Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary and are hoping their show will have a life after the Calgary Fringe.
They Must Have Smoked runs Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the Alexandra Centre.
To see Best Bets daily, go online to the Calgary Herald Arts section. For more on the Fringe, go to https://www.calgaryfringe.ca/