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Pork Filled Players
Name: Roger Tang
Occupation: Fundraiser (Research Strategist)
 
Q. Where did the idea for the Pork Filled Players come about?

During the mid 90s, my cofounder ran a monthly variety show
 that included some sketch comedy. After that folded, he and I 

started another group called OPM, which focused on Asian-American issues. 

 After that group split over creative differences, we formed another group, 

which broadened the focus somewhat (to more multicultural issues) which 
became the Pork Filled Players.
Q. What is your typical workday like?

   Work a full day job, then go to either rehearsal, or to writing session, 

or work on some aspect of the show (like publicity or sound design, etc.). 
 We run a very lean show, with the three main producers wearing multiple 
hats (director, writers, production manager, stage manager, etc.).
Q. What are some of the sacrifices that you made to get Pork Filled

Players established?

    Well, our social lives---anybody who thinks the casting couch occurs in real life---well, it doesn't! 

(I originally got into theatre because it was a 9:1 ration of girls to boys....and I'm still single after 20 years).
Q. Where do you see the future of comedy sketch groups going?

  It's hard to say. One reason that there's been such a rise is that it's really bare bones/black box theatre. 

    You don't have to get elaborate or involved in the production; in a lot of ways, you cut away to bare bones 
acting and writing (and sometimes all the fancy production values gets in the way). That means it's easier to get on stage 
and develop a voice, which leads to a more diverse set of values and viewpoints. On the other hand, because it's so easy
 to get stuff out there, there's a lot of crap. People aren't working on unique voices or approaches. A lot of groups just 
recycle what they see on TV and don't take advantage of the unique strengths of stage.  I think in the future will 
see a winnowing of groups and there'll come some distinct voices (some from ethnic theatre, some from gay theatre, etc.) 
with non-orthodox values that will draw upon some of the accumulated stage lore of the past few centuries. 
Might see some interesting stuff....
Q. What are some of the biggest mistakes that people make when they start comedy sketch groups?

    A) That you can cut corners in the writing, acting or directing--if you saw it done on TV a certain way, you can get away 
with doing it that way. You still have to have good writing and acting, or else you come off looking like amateurs.

    B) Vulgarity is a substitute for wit and good writing.

    C) Being funny is an end to itself. You should have other irons in the fire to work with; you should be working 
on several levels at once, besides the humor level, in order to move your audience and make your point.

 Q. What advice do you have for folks wanting to start a comedy sketch?

group?

    A) Just do it.

    B) Look at more than just TV (MAD TV, Saturday Night Live, Comedy

Central) for ideas and forms. Traditional theatre, performance art etc. are also good sources...

    C) Don't be afraid to experiment; sketches are rarely more than five

minutes long, so if one doesn't work, there's always the next sketch....

    D) Donít forget you're not JUST sketch; let other forms inform your work, 
and let your sketch work inform your other forms of work.

Q. Where do you get the ideas for your sketches?

    Generally from real life. There are always aspects to reality that you can make a point with on stage. 
My particular favorite exercise is to do a what if and look for logical extensions of that what if...but not necessarily 
the most obvious ones. What if you're an Asian American and your prayers are answered....from both parts of your heritage 
(Christian angels and your Chinese ancestors)? And what if those two bits of heritage argue with each other? Hilarity ensues...

  Check out the Pork Filled Players website at : www.porkfilled.com