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PianoFight's skits in ShortLived better than SNL 

Wednesday, May 21 2008

PianoFight productions encourages audience members to brown-bag their own booze; the crew even throws a couple of Budweisers and miniature whiskey bottles into the crowd right before the lights go down. But you don't have to be drunk, or even buzzed, to have a rip-roaring good time. ShortLived is a three-month competition of original short plays where the audience votes which ones make it to the next round. The night I attended, five of the eight plays (each under 10 minutes) were very funny and the other three quite gripping. Most were sustained short bursts of bizarre hilarity, such as a wedding involving ninja costumes and antidepressants, and a man trying unsuccessfully to use a coupon at a supermarket. One, called The Stand In, involved a woman who had actually answered a Craigslist ad to come in unrehearsed and act opposite a sock puppet. Artistic directors Rob Ready and Dan Williams (both stars in their own right) lead an acting company that is irreverent, skilled, and clearly loves to have a good time. Obviously the content changes, but the show I saw was better than most editions of Saturday Night Live.

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Nathaniel Eaton


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