Scripts scattered on the Humphrey Hall auditorium stage. Chairs strategically arranged in the front of the room. A dog suit is draped over a seat. Bill Lacy seems a little more stressed than usual. This can only mean one thing – rehearsals.
33rd & State’s debut sketch comedy show is fast approaching: 8 p.m., Friday, April 26, at Marquette University’s Straz Tower Hall Theater, 915 W. Wisconsin Ave.
The group has entered the early stages of its rehearsal period. Most of the live sketches have been cast. The performers read through each sketch. Then, Bill or Charlie Mohl go through their notes with the performers.
Notes range from comments on an individual’s performance to a change in stage directions. In between scenes, it’s not uncommon to see Bill talking one-on-one with a performer regarding some of his notes or to see Charlie singing and dancing to “Mrs. Robinson” as he rearranges chairs for the next sketch.
I’ve been around the group so long, I have seen some ideas come full circle. A sketch idea that was first pitched by writer/performer Connor Welch is now making it into the show. There have been ideas I’ve heard writers pitch that have not yet developed into a video or a sketch in the show. Some completely new ideas surprised me in the rehearsal. I’m really looking forward to the fact that someone is donning a dog suit for a live sketch.
The two weeks before the show consist of a lot of rehearsals for the group. The week of the show will be rehearsals every night, leading up to 33rd & State’s debut.
I think they’re in good shape, but troupe members seem to feel that they still have a little while to go. When writer/performer Joe Donahue asked what I thought of a recent rehearsal and I told him it was funny, he jokingly told me I sounded insincere. It was very sincere, thank you very much.
“We did it!” Bill announced with a chuckle at the end of the rehearsal.
With his ever-present optimism, Charlie assured the group, “It’s coming together!”
Brynne Ramella, a journalism student at Marquette University, is a guest blogger for MilwaukeeComedy, documenting the start-up of Marquette’s sketch comedy troupe, 33rd & State. This is the ninth in her series of reports.