On her grind: MU senior to present comedy sketch
Since she was a little girl, senior Jane Streeter knew she wanted to make people laugh. Inspired by the comedy stylings of famous "Saturday Night Live" faces like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and armed with writing skills cultivated by Second City in Chicago, Streeter is on her way to achieving her ultimate dream: becoming a comedy writer. For her senior project, Streeter will present a comedy sketch called "The Daily Grind," open to all students, 6 p.m. Thursday in Studio 88.
The Daily Grind will consist of 18 original sketches, all focusing on the monotony of college life, but in a fun and flighty fashion.
"It's approximately an hour long, and is comprised of 18 individual sketches, all with a variety of characters. They aren't directly connected, other then through the theme of college life, or 'The Daily Grind,'" Streeter said. "Scenes will include everything from a professor-student interaction to a frat party to a roommate disagreement."
Streeter's project has been in the works for almost a year, but she has nurtured a love for comedy writing for much longer. It all began when she witnessed the talent of mainly female comedians on television.
"I fell in love with the idea of comedy writing as a career when I was influenced by the female driven cast of SNL in the early 2000s," Streeter said. "Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch were on during my formative years, and I knew I wanted to try to write what I was seeing on screen."
Miami does not offer writing classes that focus strictly on comedy, so Streeter had to look elsewhere to gain skills necessary for comedy writing.
"Through lots of research, I found that the best way to get a 'comedy education' was through the Second City, [Upright Citizens Brigade] and [Improve Olympics Chicago Theatre]," Streeter said. "Classes are quite expensive, however, so when I found out Miami had a summer research grant program, I decided to apply."
Streeter was accepted into last summer's Undergraduate Summer Scholars program, offered in the Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship (OARS), and was granted $3,000 to take sketch writing classes at the Second City in Chicago. Second City is an improvisational comedy organization that has churned out dozens of notable comedians such as Steven Colbert, Tina Fey and Steve Carell.
During her time at Second City, Streeter learned the intricacies of crafting a comedy sketch, as well as the importance of the editing process.
"In these classes, you are taught various types of scenes and then your classmates perform what you've written so you can see what works and what doesn't," Street said. "Obviously if a scene is acted out and there is silence - which has definitely happened to me - you know there are things that need to be tweaked, or perhaps completely scraped and re-written."
Streeter came out of her eight weeks of classes with a polished project - a one-act show - which would eventually provide the foundation for "The Daily Grind." Working alongside her co-director, Dallas Ray, and a cast of six students, she was able transform her original project into a multi-sketch show that will demonstrate her knowledge and enthusiasm for comedy writing.
"Turning my written words into a performed production was a scary idea, but one that was encouraged by everyone who knew of my project," Streeter said. "Together we have assembled an extremely talented cast who make us laugh every rehearsal."
Streeter's film studies professor, Kathleen Johnson, was one encourager who helped her with the editing and production aspects of her project.
"I helped her think through producing, honing the script, blocking and the language of direction," Johnson said. "The script has a lot of college humor, but focuses on the more poignant themes of college."
While Johnson played a major role in both inspiring Streeter and assisting her as she constructed her sketch, she emphasized paying Streeter credit where it is due.
"She is truly a remarkable person who is pushing ahead with the project in front of her," Johnson said. "She is someone who will absolutely make her mark. She will be alumna that Miami will certainly be putting on the front page of the newspaper one day."
Skeeter hopes to see a sizable crowd at "The Daily Grind" on Thursday, given its relatable college content and humorous appeals.
"It's ultimately a show about life, and the things that happen that keep life from being monotonous," Streeter said. "We all have that roommate that can't clean her dishes or that hookup we wish we could take back. It pokes fun at things that perhaps seem specific to you but in reality are fairly universal to all college students."
For free tickets to see "The Daily Grind," visit brownpapertickets.com
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