Three thieves, a 2009 Toyota and a hamster in a safe deposit box: all these things and more were incorporated into the storylines of the two approximately 20-minute “movies” presented by Scared Scriptless on Friday, April 12. The genres for the skits – a Lifetime movie and a Western – were chosen ahead of time, but on the day of the show, no characters or plots were prepared. The actors began with a suggestion for a movie title from the audience and the rest was completely improvised.
The first of the movies was a Lifetime drama: “An Uncle for Christmas.” The scene began with a brother and sister excited to see their uncle – currently imprisoned for auto theft –for Christmas. The uncle, Sebastian, was then introduced to the audience, making a deal with the prison warden to steal him a Ferrari in exchange for his freedom. In a surprising plot twist, typical of the night, the warden was revealed to be Sebastian’s brother-in-law. Hilarity ensued, involving wine, slapstick humor and some pointed social commentary on the prison-industrial complex and misogyny.
“A Fistful of Dollars,” the second movie, was set in the Wild Wild West. The (proverbial) curtains opened on the First Bank of America, where Jimbo, the bank teller, helped another character, Jerry, deposit his hamster into a safe deposit box (with air holes, of course). Before the hamster could be safely stowed in the vault, though, “Old Bessie,” a famous bank robber, charged in and demanded the safe deposit box at (finger) gunpoint. The seemingly-beloved hamster was sacrificed and by the time Bessie returned to her partner-in-crime with the safe deposit box, the hamster was dead. Jimbo and Jerry then embarked on a quest to rescue the hamster, with Jimbo filling the role of an apple juice-drinking bloodhound.
The hamster’s fate was swept into the background as the two bank robbers traveled to the Second Bank of America and dressed up in petticoats to rob it. Instead, they learned about the value of investing in a savings account from Dusty, the old janitor/bank teller, and set out on a quest of their own to find a fistful of dollars to deposit in their own savings account. Dusty converted to a life of crime, turned out to be Jimbo’s long-lost brother and died suddenly. The Third Bank of America, on top of a mountain, became the site of an epic showdown where guns jammed, last words were forgotten and the hamster never recovered.
Preparation for the show involved practice creating coherent storylines and “capturing the different tropes of each of the genres,” Andrew Reuter ’19 said, “For the structure of the longer scenes we make it up as we go. We have no plan of who is going to do what. We all know that a story has to be told and the rest we make up on the spot.” The ability of the actors to create 20-minute, coherent, comedic storylines off the cuff was truly impressive.