Underwear Society, SFUAD’s resident sketch-comedy group, has just moved into the callbacks phase of auditions for its spring 2016 cast, and writing the show is under way. Though auditions have moved forward to callbacks, Marjorie Solo, three-time Society member, says there are positions open for “serious performers and writers.” “If you’re funny and the group agrees that you would be an asset to our group, we’ll make space for you,” Solo says.
The group is an equal partnership between members with a variety of backgrounds: some acting majors, some creative writers, some musicians and film majors. It’s a collaborative environment, each of them sharing responsibility and direction for their end-of-semester show. The process of producing the show takes the form of the group as it’s organic, collaborative and mostly independent.
“The writing is done on your own time. It’s a hobby. It’s something that you commit to thinking about when you’re not in meetings or in rehearsals,” Solo says. “Basically, it’s about finding the funny moments in the spaces of your life and bringing them back to the group to create a collage.”
Though this “collage” captures a variety of topics, there seems to be a common thread regarding SFUAD campus life and culture. “A lot of sketches start with theoreticals that we come up with like, what if this were like this on campus,” Sophie Farrell, two-time Underwear Society member, says. As an example, Farrell cites a previous absurdist sketch she wrote regarding the ‘no smoking within 25 feet of buildings’ policy on campus. Niko’a Salas, a new Underwear Society member as of fall 2015, corroborates Farrell’s sentiments, “The comedy definitely relies around current issues and our show is very much about that, plus making fun of life on campus, you know.” Farrell continues about her experience of writing the show, “Writing for people is really fun. Typically we don’t write sketches for ourselves so you get to know people and put them in weird situations. It’s really funny.”
Solo gives her own take, “One of the main things I love about sketch comedy is the element of compression…It’s fascinating and challenging to accent jokes in such a quick period of time.”
The show begins to come together as sketches are workshopped in table reads to get a more concrete sense of the show; however Solo says, “The script is a living script. Sometimes edits are made even the day of our show, or the second day of our show.” So, it’s suffice to say the script works as more as a guideline than as a set of hard-and-fast rules. “Rehearsals come once we get a space,” says Farrell. “Then we feel out the physical motions of everything, and figure out what works and what doesn’t.” She continues, “We try to keep it under an hour, because we consider the fact the people might lose interest.”
As for the show’s content this semester, there will undoubtedly be more campus related sketches, along with other topics. “There’s talk of including more film in our show this semester. A lot more than we’ve had in the past, though we’ve always used some,” says Solo. “That will allow us more comedic freedom, I think.”
Underwear Society’s two-night show will be at the end of the semester and specific dates are to be announced.