Character Through Comedy

Comedy is harder than it looks.

This fall, the Riverdale Middle School created “School Night Live,” an original sketch comedy production featuring sharks, elves, tap dancers, pop singers, a Donald Trump impersonator and hundreds of one liners.
The work took creativity – and commitment.

“The nature of sketch comedy demands bold choices,” says Laura Desmond, chair of the Middle and Upper School theater, dance, and film department. “I really wanted to put the kids in a position where they were pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.”

What can seem funny in rehearsal can fall flat with a live audience. Confidence is everything. “Failure is not a bad thing,” she says. “It may not feel good, but it does give you more insight into what you need to change to get to where you want to be. With this type of theater, you have to commit 100 percent or it won’t work.”

Middle School is a good time for comedy because the students still have an adventurous and playful side. “A lot of theater education is getting back to that point of where you are exuberant and carefree,” she says. “They still have it but they also have the ability to start to add deeper level thinking and deeper level insight into it and that is a lot of fun.”

To watch a livestream of “School Night Live,” click here:

Does your school do something similar?

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