Studio 88 Theatre was nearly packed for each of the three performances of “The Daily Grind” comedy sketch show, which ran last Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Written by senior Jane Streeter, the show consisted of 18 sketches, all focusing on a different aspect of college or teenage life.
Modeled after the Second City comedy troupe shows in Chicago, “The Daily Grind” did not disappoint. I still can’t decide if I think it was more impressive that it was written entirely by a student, or that none of the six actors were theater majors.
Portraying everyone from a disappointed professor who didn’t get tenure, roommates in a colossal fight over the dirty dishes, a lesbian news anchor who stole her co-anchor’s wife or an overly-excited mother helping her daughter buy tampons for the first time, the student actors stole the show with their endless amounts of comedic energy.
“The sketch show that was put on is so different from the script because the actors are getting more confident in what they do,” co-director Dallas Ray said.
This was Ray’s first directing experience with both a full-length show and the comedy sketch genre.
Co-directors Ray and Streeter watched each of the three shows from the back, keeping an eye on the audience and silently high-fiving when something went really well on stage. They had been tweaking the lines up until Monday before the show’s opening night on Thursday, and beamed with pride each time one of their “babies” remembered a changed line or did something particularly funny. Streeter even admitted to laughing during her own show.
Despite everyone’s nerves opening night, the show went smoothly.
“After the first performance everyone was so confident. After the first laugh everyone [the actors] knew, ‘Oh, we are funny. It’s gonna be okay,'” Streeter said, who was initially worried about lines falling flat because of her writing.
According to cast-member Rae-Claire Embree, she and fellow actor Brian Thene calmed their nerves before the show by doing weird dance moves and stretching out before show time.
“It’s a huge adrenaline rush,” Embree said. “The energy and the reaction from the audience is always fun.”
One of Embree’s most memorable personas was in the sketch “Community Council,” which featured the entire cast and was my personal favorite. She had to try to keep a straight face as her fellow actors portrayed a slew of stereotypical college students that we’ve all encountered at one point or another. There was the council president who thought she could do anything, the notoriously late guy, the one preaching (what he thought were Bible verses but were actually movie quotes) in the back, the pretentious one with the fake accent and the moody poet.
But it was junior Brian Thene’s booming, pompous British accent that left me, and Embree, in stitches. Frankly, the fact that she broke character for a second or two actually made the scene all the more hilarious.
What was great about “The Daily Grind” was that it was so realistic. Whether it was poking fun at the Miami Student Health Center or the annoying login for our email accounts, highlighting how most of us would rather watch Netflix and get on Facebook than do homework or showing just how difficult it is to spell the word inconvenience, at its core “The Daily Grind” was all about awkward and amusing real-life situations. And despite what the opening song stated, it showed how each day we spend in college is one of a kind.
It’s too bad that Streeter, Ray, and some of their hilarious acting cast are graduating in May; they could have easily become Miami’s own comedy sketch troupe.