8 p.m. Friday
101 E. Main, Norman
Norman's Sooner Theatre plays host Friday to "Fair & Unbalanced," a new sketch show from Second City, a touring company from one of the country's most prestigious comedy institutions.
The Chicago-based troupe counts some of the most respected comedy writers and performers of the last 50 years among its alumni, including John Belushi, Chris Farley, Bill Murray, Steve Carell and Tina Fey.
"Fair & Unbalanced" riffs on both politicians and celebrities with satirical sketches and improv comedy.
"This show comes after a year of having our touring companies perform mostly archival, classic Second City scenes, which was a direct result of our 50th-anniversary celebration," said tour stage manager Joe Ruffner. "We feel this show is inspired by the great writers that came before, but includes material generated by the touring cast members themselves, as well as the most recent Second City main stage shows."
He said that the title is apt for many reasons.
"People who enjoy the Second City know what we're about and tend to have an opinion of the 'fair and balanced' media outlets," he said. "The title seemed a natural and honest characterization of what our shows are about: commentary on current social situations, and with our own point of view, but one that we're not afraid to cop to."
Ruffner explained that "Fair & Unbalanced" is just one of many Second City productions on the road at any given time, not including the many shows at the group's home bases in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles.
"There are three resident touring companies, and we routinely assemble companies using performers in the Second City universe, including veterans of our stages," he said. "Currently, we have five companies who are rehearsing or performing city-specific shows, so we've got a pretty overwhelming talent base, and are excited to be able to provide work for all of them."
While its perhaps best known for its improv training, Second City doesn't see improv as an end unto itself, Ruffner said. Improvisation is instead used as a creative tool for writing the kind of sketches that audiences will see in Friday's show.
"Improvisation may be featured within the show, but it figures more prominently into our process, which is how we keep our material timely and relevant," he said. "Our companies use improvisation to generate their material, then to refine it in rehearsal and on the page, ultimately delivering a scene that is then performed, much like any theater piece. When you see a touring production, what you are seeing is the end result of a process.""Eric Webb
above Rob Belushi, Brooke Breit, Tim Ryder, Abby McEnany and Rachel Miller star in Second City's "Fair & Unbalanced."