Theater people are great with banter. If they work in an office together, you'd imagine that there's a lot of banter. In the case of Salina Chatlain and Teresa Waldorf, the banter includes material that later turns into sketches and stand-up for "Standing Womb Only," their show with Rosie Ayers.
Chatlain and Waldorf both work for the Montana Repertory Theatre, where they talk throughout the day, some 10 feet apart. This does not mean that Ayers is left out. Far from it. Their writing room is virtual, too, an ongoing conversation in multiple mediums.
"We are writing all the time," Ayers said. "We spend time together in our regular lives and find sketch material everywhere we go. We send each other texts, leave Post-it notes, and long awkward voicemails so that we don’t forget too many of the ideas. It leads to hilarious situations later when we can’t remember what a note meant like 'T-Rex Puzzle Night' or 'Psychic Shopping Boutiques.'"
All three have deep roots in the performing arts community. Ayers acts and directs, Chatlain is an actor, and Waldorf acts and writes. The three have all known each other for years, and have produced probably 20 shows' worth of material. At first, it was only Waldorf and Chatlain, who wrote recurring characters "Lucinda and Lucinda, the Home Shopping Girls."
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For eight years, they improvised sketches about weird products like "the Bra and Grill," which Waldorf said is a bra "you could wear food in all day and it would cook for eight hours at 98.6 and be ready to put on the table when you get home."
About half of their show this weekend has recurring characters. "Three Horrible Women," written by Chatlain, is "always about the same three self-absorbed gals and their mutual admiration for each other and disdain for the poor unfortunate others that, due to no fault of their own, aren't as, well … amazing as they are," Waldorf said. Ayers' "Oh My God, Here Comes Sheila," is "the continuing adventure of three Jersey girls, and their cousin Sheila (who is always an audience member) who supplies the major conflict for the scene. This time around she is a pregnant bride," she said.
Ayers said these new pieces are all "hilarious scenes from our lives — slightly exaggerated and enlarged but things everyone can relate to." They don't target anyone else, really.
"Although we are quite gleeful about poking fun at all kinds of people, both real and fictional, we are not about dark and confrontational comedy," Chatlain said." The last thing we want is to be vicious. We want every single person who attends our shows to laugh. Aside from the joy of working with people I love, making people laugh is the only important thing."