Arcade’s production of Sketchville features over a dozen writers and performers
From the deck of the Titanic, to a scene on Mars, to a motel in the year 0 B.C., Sketchville is a production filled with surprises. Directed by Parag S. Gohel and written by over 15 local authors, the show offers audiences a chance to be transported into a world of wild ideas, big characters, and timely satire.
Arcade’s latest production is a decidedly homegrown affair: so much so that when Arcade announced the show in September, it didn’t have a single sketch. After an open call for submissions, the judging panel (including Arcade artistic staff alongside local playwrights TJ Young and Gayle Pazerski) reviewed over 60 submissions to get to the final dozen. The result is a dynamic and energizing take on a classic sketch comedy variety show, complete with a few musical numbers and a bunch of kazoos.
To tackle creating a show from scratch in just five weeks, Arcade enlisted the help of celebrated director Parag S. Gohel — who spends his days working for Pittsburgh Public Theater just a few blocks away.
“Balancing the demands of over a dozen sketches and fifty characters across eight actors in wildly different worlds is an exciting challenge,” says Gohel. “It requires a true collaboration to fully shape all the pieces of storytelling: the many talents of this dynamic cast and production team make it easy to say, ‘yes, and.’ Rooting the show in a consistent aesthetic and unified style is also key.”
Alongside production manager Frank McDade, Parag has been leading an ensemble of eight actors through a rigorously funny rehearsal process. The cast includes Stacey Babyak, Fred Betzner, Beth Geatches, Kevin O’Brien, Montaja Simmons, and Matt Solter alongside Maame Danso and Haley Holmes — both of whom are making their Arcade debut.
“Arcade has been putting on ‘Sketchville’ productions since we opened almost ten years ago. Our goal is to showcase how inventive and engaging live sketch comedy can be,” says Mike Rubino, director of programming. “This year’s production, combined with a weekend of sketch workshops from Kevin McDonald, just shows how vibrant this style of comedy is within Pittsburgh.”
Arcade Comedy Theater presents Sketchville, December 1 through December 10, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 PM, at Arcade Comedy Theater, 943 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh
Tickets at arcadecomedytheater.com
Categories: Show Previews