365 Sketches is exactly what it says it is – 365 sketches in 26 different shows, directed by 26 local directors, featuring over 182 actors, on ten nights in June. Presented in order of weekly groupings from January to January, each set is made up of 13 – 15 sketches, all written by Janes. After seeing a number of Suzan Lori-Parks’ pieces around Chicago, Janes was inspired to try his hand at writing a sketch comedy scene per day for an entire year.
“As a teacher, I wanted to do damage to the notion of writer’s block and not having time to write. There’s no such thing as writer’s block. There is writing or not writing. I believe writing is closely linked to improvisation.” Comments Janes. “As a writer, I’m not so much creating as I am transcribing the scene I’m envisioning. You never hear an improviser say, ‘I would have improvised, but I couldn’t think of anything to improvise about.’ The same applies to writing.”
The mini-festival will take place in Hugen Hall, the cabaret space at Strawdog Theater and the location holds a special place for both Janes and producer Don Hall. Long before Strawdog took over the space at 3829 N. Broadway, WNEP Theater (founded by both men in 1992) performed it’s very first revue in the space that is now Hugen Hall eighteen years ago.
The twenty-six hour-long sets are directed by twenty-six directors from all over the Chicago comedy scene. With directors from Second City, the Annoyance, iO, ComedySportz, Robot Vs. Dinosaur, Columbia College, WNEP Theater, and more with over 177 Chicago actors, 365 Sketches either proves that Janes and Hall are brilliant or stupid – you be the judge.