SkitWorks Performance Troupe

Updated February 2022

Please read this page very carefully as there is a lot of information here. The more you know, the better!

Starting now, we’re adopting the name SkitWorks for our skits program, and what was previously our “Skits Workshop” is now our SkitWorks Performance Troupe. Meanwhile, we’re starting a non-auditioned beginning class, now called SkitWorks Skits Workshop.
Skits Workshop Cast & Crew, February 2020

“This class is the funnest thing I’ve ever done in my life!” ~ Mr. Pelham

This performance troupe is for students from 12 to 18 years of age, and is by audition or invitation only. Students will learn their parts from written scripts, and must be able to read. (Participation in previous semesters does not mean you’ll be invited back each semester.) The class is capped at 12 cast members and is also accepting as many as 4 crew-only members. While this class is certainly educational, we view it primarily as a performance troupe, so that’s why the auditions–to be sure that what we put on the stage is indeed worthy of an audience. Indeed, we hope to start publishing videos of our best skits, as it’s very hard to find excellent skit material on YouTube. Further, we have designs on using some of our skits videos as instructional content for online classes in the future (such as a course about “How to Be An Employee”.)

This is a performance-based ensemble, so it’s not just about you, like some academic courses might be—but your attendance at rehearsals and performances affects the whole group. Missing performances and rehearsals is very costly to the whole of the group, and students who do poorly at this will not be welcomed back in future semesters. So please don’t sign up if you don’t have a high level of commitment to being there. The performance dates are difficult to schedule, and we take great pains to schedule them before the semester begins. Please do not come to us later requesting that we reschedule performances so as to accommodate some other event you have become aware of after having committed to this class.

Our Willie’s Drive-Thru #4 skit from Spring 2021 is a great example of the sort of piece we’d like to re-do one day with professional quality video, for use in employment classes.

We will accept the best candidates from the auditions, provided they each seem to be of high-enough skill for a truly entertaining public performance. If we don’t find enough qualified people, we’ll simply do with fewer.

The successful auditioner will be able to speak clearly, loudly, and with authentic inflection, will be able to manage stage fright successfully, and will be easy to coach. It’s especially important that they are good at treating others with respect and courtesy.

We should stress as well that this is for responsible and diligent students who know how to get their work done in timely fashion. Rehearsals start and end promptly, and there are lots of lines to be memorized. Your audition is also something of a test of whether you’re the sort to manage to get prepared or not!

During each semester, we’ll be performing various skits, and depending on how many are in the class, a class member will almost certainly be in more than one skit. You will be expected to memorize your lines ASAP after receiving a script. If you don’t want to do that work, this is not the right workshop for you, so please don’t let the rest of us down, because it’s a real bummer when not everybody’s off the scripts when we’re read to rehearse the finer points of a skit!

We may make use of some simple costuming, and students will be responsible for scrounging up various outfits as needed. If you’re the sort of person that this course is made for, it’ll probably be one of the funnest things you’ll ever do in your life. You will be stretched out of your normal “comfort zone” as we train you to decouple from your own habits in order to act like someone different from you. And in addition to learning many things, there’ll be lots of laughing, because this is fun business. And clever.

You’ll also be learning stage craft and the technical stuff such as lighting and PA. And if you’re the sophisticated sort, we’ll teach you over the semester how to spell “theater” the fancy way.

We’re ready to start taking on crew members dedicated to one or more of the following tasks. None of this is all that hard, but some do better at various tasks than others. We’d love to have folks who are already pretty good at it, but we’ll take what we can get, of course! All of these positions will be expected to take direction from the Director, as well as to communicate well with the director about whether they have everything they need to do their jobs well.

  • Sound. Running the PA system, recording audio at performances.
  • Lighting. Running our DMX theatrical lights. Taking lighting cues from the script and/or the Director.
  • Stage Manager. Making sure cast is cued for entrances.
  • Props Manager. Making sure we have all the props we need, and that they are in the right places.
  • Prompter. Cuing the cast when they forget their lines during rehearsals and performances.
  • Photographer/Videographer. We need loads and loads of pictures and videos. And we’re very interested in live-streaming some performances on YouTube—and even doing it with more than one video camera.

Crew members won’t “audition” per se, but we do want to interview you. We’d like to know in advance which position you’re interested in and what experience (if any) you may have with it. We’d like you to be present at the audition date listed below, and to have a chance to talk it over with you personally after the Cast auditions are finished. Until now, the Cast have been covering most of these tasks, as they are not all in every skit.

There is a mandatory pre-semester orientation meeting for this class. Please read the details carefully here.

Audition Requirements

NOTE: You don’t have to be a super-acting-genius to pass the audition. Mostly what you have to do is to demonstrate that you’re willing to go after it and that you can keep your speaking volume up as you audition. (The #1 bad habit we see is actors who won’t consistently speak loudly enough to be heard. It ruins the skit—both for us and for the audience—so we want to protect everyone’s experience by picking only those who are already good at this.)

Auditions for Fall (2021) will be held on
Saturday August 7, 2021 from 9 to Noon in the Great Room. And if you can’t make that date, you can submit an audition via video.

  • You must inform me in writing of your intent to audition. No walk-ins will be accepted.
  • Come prepared to have a lot of fun!
  • Come prepared to recite this silly piece–and to do so loudly:
  • Come with a monologue memorized and ready to perform. It should be between 1 and 2 minutes long. The goal here is to show that you can act like somebody other than you. The monologue doesn’t have to be funny. It can be dramatic if you like—unless it’s SUPPOSED to be funny. If it’s SUPPOSED to be funny, but it’s not, that’s bad.
  • If you don’t know what a monologue is, you’re going to need to figure that out before you show up. You might find this link helpful.
  • Be prepared to answer a question or two IN CHARACTER—acting as if you are still the character from your monologue.
  • Be prepared to be given a new line to repeat in various tones, such as happy or sad or aggravated, etc.
  • If you really want to impress, you’ll know a few basic theatrical terms like “up stage”, “stage left”, “house right”, and so forth.
  • Your pre-prepared audition will last about 5 or 10 minutes, but the rest of the 3-hour event is about seeing how you do learning new skits. So we’ll run some new material for the first time in the class that day.
  • The goal of this workshop is so that you can audition US and we can audition you. We know that not everybody’s a great match for everybody else—that not everybody likes the same directing style, that not everybody likes the same material, and so forth. So we want to try out best to be sure that we’re all going to work together well BEFORE we get half way through the semester and see that somebody’s just not working out. (Been there, done that—and it’s very costly!)
  • While it’s not impossible that you’ll be informed on the same day whether you passed or not, don’t hold your breath. I’d like this to be the case, but it remains to be seen just how this is going to play out. See the bullet point just below to understand just why this is.
  • If you’d like to audition but you just absolutely can’t make it on AUGUST 7, and you want to persuade me not to make the final call until I’ve had a chance to see you audition live, then you need to send me a video audition via YouTube or Facebook or through some other means upon which we can agree. You won’t be accepted without a live audition, but if you’re a real firecracker, I might just postpone making the final call until we can schedule for me to see you audition live. The sooner you inform me and get me your video, the better. Contact me here to discuss it. You can send your video up through Saturday, August 7.
  • You will be auditioning in front of everyone else who is there to audition. This is part of the test—seeing how you’ll handle an audience.
  • If we end early, we’ll end early (and you can leave). If we have so many come that it can’t be done in two hours, we’ll announce an amended schedule ASAP.
  • You are 100% welcome to contact me in advance if you want advice about your audition. We can talk about it on the phone, or via email.

Other Information

A Code of Conduct agreement is required for this course. This helps to ensure the positive environment in each class. This document is being updated and will be published this summer.

Mondays, 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The semester runs from Monday 10 January 2022 to Monday 4 April 2022, with our performance dates as follows:

We hate to work so hard, and then to run a show only once. So here’s our performance schedule for the Spring semester:

Thursday and Friday, April 7th and 8th.
Show starts at 6:30 pm. Done by 8:30.
Location: To be announced.

Cast should report at 5:00 sharp for final preparations.

Scripts will be provided, and are loaned to each student, to be returned.

Dress for performances will vary depending on what we’re doing. Students should be prepared to get together various costumes on occasion–though much of what we do will either be in street clothes–or perhaps in chorus attire, as many of our cast and crew may well be in our chorus, performing skits in conjunction with chorus concerts. Here’s the chorus dress code below, so you can be prepared for that:

CHORUS DRESS CODE (in case we decide to dress this way, as we have done before)
We have a dress code for our concerts, because we are cool like that! All chorus members are expected to dress in all black as follows:
Boys/Men: Black slacks. Black belt and black shoes. Black long-sleeve, button-down shirts.
Girls/Women: Black bottoms of modest length, whether slacks, skirts, or dresses. Modest black tops, long or short sleeve. Sequins or other sparklies are OK, provided they do not change the color from the basic black look. NOTE: Ballroom gowns are too fancy for this event, and would stick out. Meanwhile, cowboy boots and hats with all black are too un-fancy, and would stick out in the opposite way!

We’d like to explore whether the Cast and Crew would like to purchase T-shirts for themselves. The Performance Troupe shirts would look like this—front and back.

In case you can’t read it, it says “Performance Troupe” at the bottom.
The back of the shirt would say either “Cast” or “Crew”, depending on a member’s position in the Troupe.

12 Cast
6 Crew

The following policies must be read and understood to enroll in this class. This is a lot of stuff because it takes a lot of details to run an excellent organization for everybody. Please invest the time to study all this. You will be asked at registration to give your word that you have done it.
Mandatory Pre-Semester Orientation
House Rules
Communication Policy
Code of Conduct
Performance & Rehearsal Attendance Policy
COVID-19 Policy
Special Needs Policy
Spring 2022 Performance Schedule

This course meets, as do all our courses, in the We, Montana! Great Room.

Jack Pelham

$50 per student per semester.

Register for this course at Google Forms.