Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Comedy Tonight!

When I was a kid, I had a penchant for drama. No wonder I became an actress! :)

But I also loved to write stories! In elementary school, I didn't wait for the latest class play to surface. I wrote my own plays for my classmates and I to perform. I even got my brother in on the act!

Small wonder I've felt the call the write lately.

After college, I mostly wrote dramatic fare. I consolidated the novel, "The Phantom of the Opera," into a 30 minute playlet for The Edgar Allan Poe festival in PA. In NY, I penned a 10 minute piece called CHEER which ran with The Vagina Monologues for V-Day NY, and my last piece was a one woman show called "Love in 35 Minutes," which was wrapped around love and musical theatre.

Lately, since I've found myself consistently cast in comic roles, I've been taking sketch comedy classes at The PIT to strengthen my funny bone. My latest class has been on the basics of writing sketches. Some of my favorite actors are also writers - like Christopher Lloyd, Emma Thomspon, Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Steve Carrell - so I keep thinking of something my husband says: "Learning one skill can strengthen another."

From an acting perspective, I've found that by exploring the formula of a comic scene, I'm clearer on my own work as an actor. But writing it is definitely different! It's made me open my ears and hear how people talk to each other, hearing the patter and patterns, "finding the funny."

The biggest lesson I've learned is that comedy has to be honest. You can't push a joke at people, or... you can try, but then it's not as funny. Stand-up might be different, but for comic acting, I've learned it has to come from an honest place.

The thing I'm digging about comedy writing is the sense of colloboration. I also love how the halls between the studios simply echo with laughter. That is such a gift, and it makes going to class an absolute blast!

So I'm off to join my fellow artists in revelry and comic learning. :) Happy Trails!

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