Making Art House
CFA and COM students team up to produce a sitcom
Twentysomething Barb returns to her family home after a breakup to find a quartet of artists using it as a studio and a crash pad: a dippy interpretive dancer, an inept rapper, an obsessive baker, and a metal sculptor in a welding mask. Barb, understandably, reaches for her mace.
“It came out of our looking for different means of expression in which our students could perform, collaborate, and travel their artistic journeys,” says Susan Mickey, director of the School of Theatre. “We’re a natural fit. We’re hoping this will be the impetus for more work together.”
A traditional three-camera sitcom, like I Love Lucy and All in the Family, Art House was taped over several nights at the Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre in late April, with student actors, directors, designers, writers, and camera operators from both colleges working with industry veteran faculty. An elaborate three-room set and a live audience gave it that Hollywood feel.
Halfway between theater and single-camera shoots, the three-camera sitcom is on the way out these days. But Acsa Welker (’23), who plays Barb, says, “Honestly, the sitcom feels like the perfect learning space, because it’s kind of the best marriage of the two forms. I feel ready to, hopefully, step onto a set in the future. Even if it’s not the same, I still feel like I’ve learned a lot.”
Turns out Barb’s brother Phil invited the artists in to assuage his loneliness, and that they’re not so bad after all; there’s even some of the “hugging and learning” that Seinfeld famously eschewed.
A final, edited version of Art House will be shown on campus sometime in fall 2023.