Timmi Lasley talks about LadyFace's An Office Christmas Party
|The ladies of LadyFace.|
What's in store for LadyFace's An Office Christmas Party?
It's running in tandem with a children's non-ballet version of the Nutcracker. So they're doing the kids show, and Michael (Emmitt) the director of Spark Theater, just told us that he wanted an "office party-themed thing"; whatever we wanted to do, just do it. He got a hold of Mara Wiles (of LadyFace) after our first sketch comedy Christmas show at Spark last December -- before we moved to Bender's (now Quixote's True Blue) -- so he knew what we were about, and our fun, weird thing that we do.
We spent all summer writing it -- we tried to put all of the Christmassy things in that we could think of, all the stereotypes and clichés of Christmas stuff. So we've got a fat Santa and a mysterious ghost-like figure and an orphan child. We took all of those things and mashed them together in an office party. It's a lot of really over-the-top characters and one straight character, the Temp (played by LadyFace's Kristin Rand), who you follow around through the story as she overhears conversations and liaisons in the copy room that she's trapped in there for. She's the guide for the audience through this wacky office party.
Does she speak directly to the audience?
No. There is a little bit of audience participation -- when you get to the theater you get a name tag. You'll be "Janis from Accounting" or "Tom from Fluffing and Stuffing" or whatever. But for the most part you'll not be interacted with, unless we're at the party scene. It kind of goes between the party scene, where karaoke is playing, office Christmas awards are being given out, all of that dumb office party stuff. Then the Temp will go and escape the party somewhere else, and trouble follows her. There is a fourth wall, for sure.
What was it like for LadyFace to write a singular production like this, versus the multiple-sketch format used for other shows?
If our sketch show were a half-hour weekly sitcom, this would be like our feature-length film. We had to approach it a little bit differently -- they are still all tiny vignettes, but tied together because they have a theme. So we spent a lot more time writing it. We're good at working with each other, but because we're asking other comics to fill in some of the roles, we were trying to get more on their level, so they knew what to expect. (We didn't want it to be) just LadyFace-style, like go for it, dive in. We tried to have a structure.
It's been fun to develop the characters a little more. In sketch, it's the broad strokes -- with this, the characters need a little more meat on their bones.