I moved to Atlanta for the third time a year ago and returned to my favorite dog haunt in Decatur - Adair Park. It was there that I confided in my therapist friend Jeanne my dreams of acting again -- like I had at Emory and then in New York a decade ago. Bless her, Jeanne never once said, "What do you wanna do that for?" She let my relatives cover that ground. No, Jeanne thought another foray into acting would be brilliant idea at my age -- 31. And she told me about Sketchworks Theatre in Scottdale.
I learned that Sketchworks "deals in short, written sketches and films, and celebrates comedy writers every bit as much as comic actors." It's not improv. They don't put on plays. Sketchworks boasts that it is "Atlanta’s premier live sketch comedy company and troupe featuring some of Atlanta's top working pros." I was intrigued. But I didn't take classes there right away.
I decided instead to take some refresher on-camera acting classes at yourACT Acting Studios, which is housed in the same building as the Sketchworks black box-style theatre. I got my sea legs back at yourACT and remembered how alive I felt when acting and how much I love being surrounded by other actors -- they come in all shapes, colors, accents and sizes and they are ridiculous attention whores (insert jazz hands). Yup, guilty.
At the encouragement of a new actor friend, Ravi, I had the opportunity to see Sketchworks' yearly best-of show, "The Deadliest Sketch," in February. It was fan-frickin-tastic, y'all. I laughed my arse off. It wasn't the wigs. Or the crazy characters. Or the wonderful politically incorrect lewdness of it all. Okay, maybe it was the wigs. I grew up on Carol Burnett, after all. But I was hooked. I wanted to be a part of the team that could bring so much joy to people.
Like Second City and The Groundlings, Sketchworks has a system for developing and launching the next generation of main stagers through their classes. Right after the show, I signed up and started taking the intro class and I haven't looked back since.
A byproduct of taking these classes is that I've now made some wonderful friendships with my fellow sketch comedy classmates (jazz hands again, y'all) and people just trying out sketch comedy for the first time (aka those not willing or ready to call themselves "actors" yet).
This July I'll be finishing out the classes with two showcase shows July, 12 & 13 at Sketchworks Theatre and finally get to bring all my character work to the masses. I'm terrified and excited and hope this is just the beginning of sketch comedy writing and acting for me.
Come out and see what serious comedy work (and a bunch of ridunculous wigs) looks like. Or just come laugh for a while. You'll be glad you did. And maybe you'll realize you need to get on the sketch comedy bandwagon. Tickets are sold here: http://www.ticketalternative.com/Venues/1360.aspx. Get yours before we sell out.