Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Taste of 365 - Friday Night!

“365 Sketches” Book Release Celebration

Hosted by Michael Gellman
Interview and Q&A with Joe Janes
Featuring 10 scenes from “365 Sketches” performed by original cast members from the June Strawdog shows.
Friday, August 13 Tickets are $5, $3 for students de MAAT Studio, 3rd floor of Piper’s Alley, North and Wells, 312-337-3992

I am very excited about this event. It's going to be a great time and you really can't beat it for five bucks! There's so much entertainment value packed into this, you might actually make money from your investment. First off, I get to share the stage with Michael Gellman, a mentor and constant source of inspiration for me. You get to see us talk about sketch comedy, unrehearsed. You also get to ask us any questions you have. That alone is worth the cost of a ticket. In fact, you're probably up ten bucks at this point.

What really makes this event worth your while is this line-up of scenes and talent. These are ten scenes I picked, which, out of 365 scenes, was very difficult. Michael and I will also do some DVD-style commentary after every scene.

"A Gospel Song for Atheists" – directed by Chris Othic, featuring Geoff Crump, Becca Levine, Chris Othic, Nat Topping and Susie Gutowski

I picked this one because it is one of the songs I wrote for 365. And when I say "wrote a song" I just mean the lyrics. Groups were on their own to set them to music. All the groups did a fantastic job at this. They all exceeded my expectations (except for that one where the group set it to a Barry Manilow song. Oh, my.) This was a difficult song and these guys nailed it. Here's a stripped down rehearsal of the song.

"Pawn Broken" – directed by Scott Olson, featuring Dylan Hackwoth and Jack Bourgeois

I wanted a two-person scene that utilized biographical elements. "Pawn Broken" deals with a man selling an engagement ring. Good times.

"KAT-JITSU" – directed by Jason Fleece, featuring Jill Olson, Chris Brown and Andy Cameron

This was an important scene for me during 365. It's one of the few where I can tell you when I wrote it. It's scene 15. After two weeks of writing scenes, I realized I could be silly. Kat-Jitsu is silly.

"Bullet Flu" – performed and directed by Neil Arsenty, Tim Huerlin, Heather Muth

It was difficult to be topical during 365 because I wanted scenes to be able to hold up after the project was over. This is my satirical take on media hype over flu "epidemics."

"French Is Easy" – directed by David Rocco Facchini, featuring Matt Noonan, Heather Muth, Becca Levine, Lisa Burton

This scene makes no sense at all, which is why I included it. I believe there's room for the odd in a sketch revue. This group also just did a wonderful job with it and made it very entertaining.

"Your Improv Coach" – directed by Jen Ellison, featuring Mary Jo Bolduc

This isn't exactly a comic monologue even though it is a one-person scene. If you have ever been in an improv workshop or on an improv team, this might make you very uncomfortable. In a good way.

"Waiter Scene No. 6, Op. 68, F Major, Pastoral” also known as "Recollections of a Country Life" Written By Joe Janes and Sir Jasper Turlington III – directed by Rinska Prestinary, featuring Pat Whalen, Chris Petlak and Matt Steffen

I love this scene because it's like Masterpiece Theater for blackouts.

"Anna.2" - directed by Jen Ellison, featuring Dave Stinton, Mary Jo Bolduc and Merrie Greenfield

There's no way I could get through 365 scenes without a robot or two. Here's the best robot scene, in my opinion.

"Everybody Poops, Even Neil" – directed by Wendi Weber, featuring Jackie Durruthy, Rammel Chan, Govind Kumar

My students will be happy to know I don't have a problem with poop jokes, as long as they are smart poop jokes and forward the story.

"Ain’t That Love" – directed by Rose Kruger, featuring Joel Reitsma

This is a scene that when I wrote it, I liked it, but didn't think much about it, except that I knew it could be deadly if the actor played it for laughs. Rose and Joel did such a magnificent job with this that it became one of the highlights of the Strawdog shows that folks talked about it for weeks.

So, come on out. Have a good time. Meet Michael, the actors, the directors and me. We'll have t-shirts on sale. You can also buy the book at a 15% discount.