Comedy on Tilt Slides into Fourth Year
"When you see the world on tilt rather than straight on, then you see the humor in the situation." --Daniel Holland
For years Daniel Holland, my sweetheart, dreamed of an old-fashioned comedy variety review show for Lake County, here in Northern California. My slogan is, "If you can dream, you can do."
In 2004, then, we did. Comedy on Tilt 1, 0ur first show, held at the Lakeside Inn Pub on Soda Bay Road near our home, was standing room only. We even had to turn people away at the door.
This success was sweet, but the air conditioning didn't work. People were sweating like pigs, but they were laughing! No one left. We still marvel at the loyalty of that first audience that viewed our original skits, songs, poems, stand-up, improv, and vaudeville acts.
Lake County Arts Council sponsored us then as they continued to do through Comedy on Tilt 2 & 3 in 2005 and 2006. We, in turn, give them a handsome donation at show's end.
There were so many obstacles on that first show. The universe moved in to help, yes, but also to hinder and test. We were definitely tested. For example, a week before the show Daniel's glasses broke and we had to take the day off to drive to Santa Rosa to get them replaced.
Then, the weekend of the show Daniel got a terrible gum infection. Since no dentists were open on the weekends, we called his sister, a dental assistant in Pleasanton, who roused her boss on vacation to get an anti-biotic prescription for him. Daniel rested, then went on-stage under the influence of heavy pain-killers.
A key troupe member for three skits didn't show up at the last moment. As my niece said when she as little, none of this "gave me that easy feeling." As the accidental producer, I gave the opening speech. Then, I had to run around the outside of the building, change into my squaredance dress, tune my violin, and come on-stage with "Rattler and the Rattlettes," two funny side-kicks forming a girlgroup with me as we encouraged the audience to sing along with us.
On another turn around the building (there was no back-stage), Bill Fredricksson, our guest star, saw me charging along, head forward, stressed out of my mind. He wisely pulled me aside to council, "Janet, we aren't getting paid for this, so it had better be fun. You have worked so hard for this. It will all be over in a flash." I am still grateful for that advice, Bill!
In the second year, we started having theme shows. In 2005, the theme was FOOD. The redoubtable Voris Brumfield produced the show and we moved up to Pine Grove Resort on Cobb Mountain. We'd been courting Voris for months and finally the timing was right for her to do it. In keeping with the food theme, she finally agreed over the lamb course of a dinner cooked just for her. Of course, I forgot to serve the lamb until after dessert, I was so excited to have her as our guest.
With a producer in place, that left Daniel free, as Artistic Director, to shape the show and think up ways for the audience to have a good time. For Comedy on Tilt 2, Phil Mathewson was the show troubadour. Phil is enormously talented singer-songwriter. He's composed original music for the show--both for his own act and also as segues betweeen the acts. Daniel once again greeted the audience with an opening monologue. We brought back the "Professor Skit" and "Director Donuts" with a new cast. Dante De Amicis wrote "Mutiny on the Half Shell" and with Lorna Sue Sides they tossed off a fun "Food Fight" sketch that relied on puns and flirting. Fran Ransley read her story of how to secretly inject insect protein into oatmeal on a food-stamp budget from her book in progress, This House Protected by Poverty. The songs, under Voris' direction, became more like production numbers.
In 2006, for Comedy on Tilt 3, our theme was THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE WEIRD. We raised production values by assembling a crack team that crossed the boundaries of both theater groups in Lake County--Lake County Reperatory Theater and Lakeport Community Players. In addition to Cindy Car as our producer, Bert Hutt worked as both musical director and MC. We continued to have original skits, poems, and stories interspersed with lots of music. We expanded to two weekends with four shows at the Kelseyville Presbyterian Church.
This year, 2007, for Comedy on Tilt 4 our theme is GREED. If you have an original skit you'd like us to consider for staging, please send it to Daniel Holland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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