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'Two Months In' combines comedy and politics

The show features Caitlin Wells (left), Shane Smith, Amy Hallett and Marcus Zollicoffer among others and a Triangle-based creative team.

The show features Caitlin Wells (left), Shane Smith, Amy Hallett and Marcus Zollicoffer among others and a Triangle-based creative team.

A comedy sketch by Triangle-based group Mettlesome chose a different outlook.

“Two Months In: An Original Sketch Comedy Revue, A Reason to Laugh Again” will run at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro on March 10, 11, 17 and 18.

The sketch strives to create a space for productive conversation.

“We want it to be a show that sparks conversation,” producer Ashley Melzer said.

“We want it to be one that doesn’t preach, but opens up ideas. You’re not just getting your ideas reinforced for you. You get to see things from a new perspective.”

Director Jack Reitz said striking the balance between humor and political commentary was not difficult for the show’s writers.

“The truth is, the personal is political,” he said.

Melzer said there are advantages to sketch comedy that made it the perfect medium for the show.

“What’s interesting and amazing about sketch is that it’s immediate,” she said. “These are N.C. voices reacting to N.C. now.”

Reitz said the structure of the show, which includes 15 different mini-plays, allows for personal interpretation.

“(Sketch comedy) is different from a play because a play only has one plot,” he said.

“You’ll get to see about three dozen characters with a lot of different stories and a lot of different perspectives.”

Reitz, Melzer and the rest of the writing team worked for three months to create the sketches and pitch ideas to each other.

Actors in the show, such as UNC graduate student Rishan Dhamija, also influenced the sketches.

Dhamija said when he and the other actors got their scripts, the typical character descriptions were not included.

“So, we could bring our own element to the roles — deciding on different accents, improving on the lines — as long as we stuck to the main skeletal structure of the skit,” he said.

Dhamija said he was able to use his and his family’s personal experience to give insight on an Indian character battling the various legal roadblocks on the way to getting a job in America.

“The creative process wasn’t just writing the script and learning it to perform it,” he said.

“It was a platform to discuss these matters. There are things I know that (the other actors) don’t know, and things they know that I don’t know.”

Reitz said “Two Months In” has something for everybody.

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“It’s a catharsis for the audience to laugh at the present situation and see some of their ideas reflected,” he said. “

And some of it is just silly, just to laugh at.”

Melzer said Mettlesome worked to make the show funny, welcoming and inclusive.

“The only way we can move forward is if we can listen to each other,” she said.