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‘SKETCH’ Channels Both Eccentricity and Comedic Genius

SKETCH, an SNL-inspired comedy show put on by the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club, included eleven short sketches filled with witty wordplay and eccentric plots. From a man who is too excited to receive a pat down at airport security to a lesbian who wins “The Bachelor” but is in love with another contestant, a cast of nine students performed a series of ten skits from March 23 to 25. While a few sketches fell a little flat, most were funny and unique.

The performance took place in the Loeb Ex, an intimate black box theater. Although the setup was simple, it worked well for this production. With only a few rows of seating, the audience was close enough to the actors to make microphones unnecessary. The audience’s proximity also made it easy to catch the nuances of the cast’s facial expressions and body language, which are critical to this personal type or humor.

Props were simple and used sparingly, with only a handful in each sketch. However, they did vary from sketch to sketch, allowing the audience to understand the setting of each despite the stage’s consistent black backdrop. The costumes worked in much the same way. The black shirt-and-jean combination rarely changed from scene to scene, but the occasional flannel, jacket, or purse helped orient the audience to the new characters the actors were now portraying. The simple props and costumes focused all attention on the acting itself.

For the most part, the sketches were funny, and the premises were unique. One of the most enjoyable sketches was “Sexual Paralysis,” written by Emma Y. He ’19, which featured a forty-five year old (Sabrina Wu ’20) who has been unable to speak or move for thirty years. Her parents (Eli B Schleicher ’18 and Emma K. Woo ’17) take her to a doctor (Julius Wade ’20) where she uses a machine to speak for the first time in thirty years, and to their disappointment, all of her focus is on the hot male nurse (Michael Perusse ’20). As the doctor tries to explain that his machine is indeed working properly, the girl’s parents become more and more flustered. This skit was only one of many successes in SKETCH. Other hits included “The Bachelor,” written by Wu and John T. Ball ‘20, and “Pat Down,” also written by Ball. All in all, the sketches were varied and unique.

The acting style of the cast fit well with the tone of the show. Although they usually stayed in character, it was also enjoyable to see them genuinely enjoy the jokes they and their fellow cast mates delivered. This occasional breaking of character is similar to that seen on Saturday Night Live, an inspiration for SKETCH, which has made audiences laugh for decades.

Unfortunately, the biggest letdown of the show was the finale, “Pie Sketch,” written by Perusse. For such a strong line-up, it was disappointing to end on something that didn’t reflect the hilarity of the rest of the show. As a pie baking competition took place, the whole cast appeared on stage, one by one, with different interpretations of the word “pie.” The skit included the entire cast, as a new actor emerged every thirty seconds to add to the chaos. Although the appearance of every cast member made this the perfect finale sketch in theory, it lasted too long and there were too many variations of the same joke. With two cast members still to appear, the sketch had already seemed to run its course. While “Pie Sketch” had its moments, it left the audience wanting more from the closing performance.

Overall, SKETCH was well-written and well-performed. From the acting to the eccentricity of it all, the show successfully captured the SNL vibe, providing both the actors and the audience with an enjoyable, laughter-filled experience.

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