This weekend marks the beginning of Sketchfest 2010, a decade old event that claims to attract the best in local, national and international performers. Held at Stage 773, the fest also offers children's programming, workshops, networking opportunities, and other special events. This year, with more than one hundred sketch comedy groups performing over two weekends, actor/comedians Colleen Murray and Robyn Scott will be front and center, presenting the live component of their new pilot, “Darcy & Tess.” Both “corporate actors” and comedy scene veterans, the two discussed their newest venture with Our Town.
Q You’re both corporate actors, what does that entail?
A We both work for Second City Communications, a corporate services divisions. We work with clients who need various services ranging from training and development to live entertainment to industrial films and voiceover.
Q What made you two team up?
A We got to know each other through Second City, got along really well as friends and have the same comic sensibility. We thought up these characters and wanted to develop them, and that ultimately led to creating this pilot.
Q What assets do you both bring?
A We’re both very flexible and adaptable to change. We each have a lot of really funny friends and resources in Chicago’s comedy community. And as performers, we’re both very willing to take risks with our characters.
Q How did the pilot evolve?
A It came from our original idea of two friends trying to run different businesses to make it in a bad economy. Then we expanded upon that so that we could give them an origin story to give their experiences meaning and context.
Q What’s your writing process like?
A We wrote the entire thing together, side by side, visualizing and creating each scene. We were always in the same room and we truly did equally create every piece of it.
Q What are your hopes for it?
A We’d love to see it on TV, but we’d be happy with it on the web or on your butt. We don't care as long as people see it and enjoy it. We just hope it finds its niche and it tickles people’s fancies.
Q How did you become involved with Sketchfest?
A We both had performed in it in previous years and knew it was a great festival that we wanted “Darcy & Tess” to be a part of. Colleen’s previous Sketchfest performances included “Moist,” a hit sketch show that went on to be feature at the HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen.
Q You’ll be performing elements from your pilot. How did you go about converting the material to a different medium?
A Everything we wrote was from an improvisational core, so we were able to pretty easily go back and adapt for stage. Parts that would be fun to play live, we could just reformat to a live sketch performance.
Q What can audiences expect from your performance this weekend?
A You can expect us to play multiple characters, expect a multimedia experience, and hopefully expect to laugh a lot. You can also expect to see us both in mustaches, and maybe even a roller skate routine.
The duo perform Saturday, January 8th at 6 p.m.
A freelance writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum, when not writing, supports herself as a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago's Story Studio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it actually. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez