Second City Touring Company brings a reason to laugh at the country’s political climate to the Kirby Center
WILKES-BARRE — The Second City Touring Company counts Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Amy Sedaris among its alumni, and on Oct. 9 the current crop of Second City comedians will perform at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
“Free Speech! (While Supplies Last)” combines musical comedy, planned sketches and improvisational moments for a topical show that mines 2016’s tumultuous political climate for material. Second City Touring Company, based in Chicago, will take the show to venues across the United States leading up to Nov. 8’s presidential election — Washington D.C. native Emma Pope is among the touring show’s cast.
“I loved theater and loved performance for so long but I was very shy as a kid, so I didn’t really pursue it,” Pope said. “I sort of felt like if it’s going to happen then I’ll be chosen to do it. Its not something I should pursue.”
In college, Pope started dabbling in stage performance while studying psychology. She was always interested in how people worked and comedy allowed her to explore a different aspect of human relationships — what makes people laugh, what constitutes as funny and what sort of actions illicit other emotions. After performing in the Chicago comedy scene for five years, Pope’s attitude toward pursuing her on-stage passion changed and she auditioned for Second City. She was selected to be an understudy in 2015.
“With good training and the right kind of support it feels really easy to just live in the moment and exist with a scene partner on stage together,” Pope said. “I found it’s almost addictive because when it goes well and the audience is engaged with you and you’re engaged with your scene partner you just want to feel that feeling again and do it over and over.”
It’s a good thing Pope is so enthusiastic about her stage work, because she’ll take part in about a dozen scenes on each night of the tour, including musical numbers — her favorite parts. She described the show as a multifaceted entertainment experience created by the people who perform it.
“It’s material that is based in the political season, that’s sort of what’s on everybody’s mind right now,” Pope said. “A lot of the material is original, meaning written by the cast, so sometimes somebody will come in with a pitch and then we’ll all improvise around it, sometimes somebody will just come in with a clean idea and we’ll just work with that. Then, of course, there’s improv in there too.”
Second City’s politically-charged “Free Speech! (While Supplies Last)” performance offers a new perspective on this year’s state of affairs.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
What: “Free Speech! (While Supplies Last),” a Second City Touring Company comedy show
When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9, doors open at 6 p.m.
Where: F.M. Kirby Center, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
How Much: $29.50, plus fees. To purchase tickets, visit the Kirby Center’s on-site box office, call 570-826-1100 or go to KirbyCenter.org.