Laughter abounds in rehearsals for Saline Area Players’ upcoming production of The Carol Burnett Show: Your Favorite Sketches to be performed March 8-11 at Stone Arch Arts and Events. As a child, it seemed odd to me that in the TV show the actors got close to laughing when they weren’t supposed to. In fact, in reading Carol Burnett’s book This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection, she said that their show had “been accused of showing actors cracking up at times, breaking character.” Now that I’m in rehearsals in which we’re performing these sketches, I totally understand why. They are hilarious! The writing is superb. And there are so many absurdities, that you can’t help but laugh. We are cracking each other up. In her book, Carol said that they were “guilty as charged.” She noted “we really tried very hard not to break up, but when we did, it was honest.” To disclose one of my lines in the show, it “makes sense to me.”
Some of the lines are funny, but only in context. Like when the nurse asks “so which one of you has the problem?” as she is observing someone with a gun to their head. Or when Zelda says “I don’t want to wait 2 weeks”. To find out why that is funny, you’ll have to see the show. Many love the line “this mesh is SUPER FINE,” referring to a fly swatter. Or, “I’m wearing a tutu just for you you.” Any guess why the line “he doesn’t smoke” is funny?
But sometimes even funnier than the lines are the accidental things that happen during rehearsals. Like the “doctor” whose stethoscope was evidently left in the sun and sticks straight out. Or when I try to say the line about lacking in “female hormones” that comes out lacking in “female hormizomes”. One actor repeatedly forgets her line after her stage kiss – whew! I love watching that part… they get redder by the minute as they “flail” around. I’m ready to put the lines in the coffee cup so she can remember. One actor’s favorite moment in rehearsal was when the end of the cap accidentally fell off Starlet’s curtain rod. Another actor says “I love that I will be giving birth to a total of three illegitimate children throughout the course of the show.” I find it humorous that one actor is shorter than his mate and has to stand on a step for their embrace, which wasn’t scripted that way, but adds to the humor. Another says she has trouble staying focused while watching a “sexual transformation” happen before her eyes. One gets lifted up by her male counterpart and worries he will drop her, but says “it’s a good thing he lifts weights!”
I don’t want to give anything away here. Suffice it to say that this show is funny and the laughter is infectious. As Charlie Chaplin said, A day without laughter is a day wasted. Tickets are on sale now for The Carol Burnett Show: Your Favorite Sketches.