Two improv and sketch comedy veterans on campus spent the summer writing sketches, one of which involved Lucifer and God in a domestic partnership. Although that particular sketch won’t make it into Aaron Eisenberg and Nick Gertonson’s two-man show called Going Local, there will be a total of 28 characters involved to represent the fictional town of Singapore Heights.
“We would worry about connecting the separate sketches once we had everything written,” said Eisenberg, a Communication senior, of all the writing he and Gertonson, a Communication junior, did this summer. “It’s been a good way to test us and get us out of our comfort zones. It’s been a great kick in the pants.”
The Vertigo production will run at Shanley Pavilion starting tomorrow night at 11 p.m. Eisenberg, who sits on the board as play-writing chair, and Gertonson both said they are hopeful that the show will one day run on a stage outside of Northwestern’s campus, citing past board performances that have been adapted to fit larger stages in the Chicago area.
Both students are part of Mee-Ow, a short-form improv group, and the Titanic Players, which is long-form improv. The two used their background in the comedic world to give Northwestern students a different sort of theater experience than many plays offer.
“We are theater majors but that doesn’t make us theater people,” said Eisenberg, a senior. “You probably won’t see us in Cats anytime soon.”
Eisenberg and Gertonson will tell the story of Guy Washbelly and his town, Singapore Heights. Through an hour and ten minutes worth of sketches, including a 10-minute musical, they will introduce the audience to characters from “The Far East of the Midwest” as they show Washbelly staging one final musical for the townspeople, who are not too fond of his work.
“I think that Nick and Aaron did some really impressive things in the show,” said director and Communication senior Marie Semla. “It’s nonstop laughter. We had a crew view and we just laughed at every scene.”
One of the reasons the duo was able to pull off a show with so many intertwined characters, topical jokes and storylines is that they have so much experience working together, Gertonson said.
“We’ve worked together for a whole year,” he said. “We’ve learned how to bounce with each other.”
Eisenberg and Gertonson made it clear that the show’s crew was more involved creatively than the audience might expect. Gertonson described people like Semla, the producer and the stage manager as “another artistic voice in the room.”
The director said she has worked with both men in Mee-Ow and Titanic Players. Interactions between Eisenberg and Gertonson are much like short, onstage scenes. Eisenberg joked as he referred to the audience, saying, “We will refund their tickets if they don’t laugh once.”
Gertonson instantly jumped in and added, “But they have to be able to prove it afterwards.”
Going Local will run Thursday night at 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 8 and 11 p.m. in Shanley Pavilion. Tickets are $5.
Full disclosure: Aaron Eisenberg and Nick Gertonson also star in the webshowGertonberg on North by Northwestern.