By: Lee Stevens
Spring workshops are back in person (and full of laughs)
Flat Rock Playhouse is bringing back laughs with its 2022 season, hosting a Sketch Comedy Workshop through April 25 led by Scott Treadway. The eight-week, in-person course is suitable for adults with or without acting experience who wish to hone their comedic skills.
Participants will learn about the history of comedy (how it evolved from radio and vaudeville), study the greats, and develop and perform classic comedy sketches directed by Treadway. Hearing Abbott and Costello perform their classic “Who’s on First” routine, as well as sketches from Laurel and Hardy and others, they will figure out how to break down comedic beats within scenes and jokes in a script.
“Delivery and timing are learned through listening to the masters, as the straight man sets up the joke and the character actor delivers the punch line,” explains Treadway. “The more you listen to those who knew how to do it, the more you learn it. And then it’s a matter of practice to get it right.”
Treadway sees such elements of comedy as applicable to all forms of acting, and hopes participants will learn respect for the overall discipline while having a relaxed, fun experience.
“The goal,” Treadway says, “is to laugh a lot while we honor the great comedians and perform classic comedy sketches.”
At the same time, he’ll be in rehearsals for the Main Stage Production of the comedy thriller Catch Me If You Can, scheduled to open April 28. Workshop participants will be able to see Treadway’s comedic chops in action as they work on their own comedic scenes.
He credits his years on the venerated local stage — starting when he was an apprentice in 1984, and continuing through his many roles in a range of both comedic and dramatic productions — for his diversity of skill.
“Flat Rock Playhouse has been my passion for 38 years.”
Originally from Johnson City, Tennessee, Treadway got his first laughs performing puppet shows for his sister. It was the many hours he spent watching the Carol Burnett Show on Saturday nights, though, that launched him on the path to a career in comedic acting.
Yet the idea for the Sketch Comedy Workshop didn’t originate until last year, when the virtual lineup for the Playhouse’s Studio 52 education program included adult classes for the first time. Those who enrolled in the new online offerings included parents of youth-theater students, board members, volunteers, and audience members.
Besides the obvious — learning new things and making connections — “what participants experienced was a low-pressure, fun opportunity,” says Anna Kimmell, director of education. “Based on the success of these adult classes, we plan to add more in the future.”
Studio 52 Spring Theatre Classes at Flat Rock Playhouse (1855 Little River Road, Flat Rock) run through April 29. For the full roster of workshops for children and adults, see flatrockplayhouse.org.