Recess starts season with venue change

The members of GW’s premier comedy group Recess won’t let a little thing like construction get them down. Despite having lost their home at the Betts Theater to renovations, the group is planning one of its busiest seasons to date.

We usually don’t do sketches in Lisner Downstage, Recess member Steve Siddell said. It’s very personable, but there is no place to do a big show.

Siddell said the group normally focuses on long-form and improv-style comedy while playing at Lisner Downstage, but now they will be forced to do sketches on the smaller, less technical stage. Sketches are pre-written material that usually include more complicated props and lighting cues than other improv styles.

I still don’t know how we are going to do movies there, he said.

Working videos into their sketches has become a staple of the Recess’ repertoire. The group recently purchased new video equipment to aid in the production of the short films. This equipment may go unused if the group does not find a way to play its multimedia spectacular at Lisner Downstage.

I might need to bring my 13-inch TV, Siddell said jokingly.

Looking beyond the possible technical setbacks they could face by playing solely at Lisner Downstage, the group has scheduled five shows for the fall season alone and is hoping to add even more.

Also on for Recess this fall is the Haverford Comedy Festival, hosted by Haverford College in Pennsylvania. It is the first time the group has attended the festival. They will be performing at a festival at Villanova in the spring.

Recess did not graduate any of its members last year, leaving a veteran cast of ten. The cast includes Siddell, T.J. Miller, Don Pitz, Wendi Butterworth, Chris Alexander, Ryan Sager, Dorothy Robinson, Molly Addler and Todd Schulman. The only cast member from last year who is not returning this season is Sam Sklaver, who is studying abroad.

In March, Recess alumni will join the cast for a 10-year anniversary show. Siddell said there was no place to do a big show like the anniversary show if they do not have access to the Betts Theater. Construction on the Betts Theater is scheduled to be finished in January.

In order to get ready for the rigorous fall season, the group will be rehearsing four days a week, from 10 p.m. until midnight. They will be holding auditions September 5th and 6th.

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