Skit Night 2011: Pirates of the Caribbean

Skit Night. THE event of the Greek calendar year.

Skit Night is an event better experienced than explained, but I’m going to attempt to anyways. It is a two-night competition where the greek chapters put on amazing performances filled with music, dancing, costumes, sets, humor, acting, EVERYTHING! All wrapped up into an 8-minute slot. Chapters prepare for their skits months in advance (well, most of them). For the chapters that take it seriously, there are some incredible products that come from their months of hard work, planning, and rehearsing.

It was the second year that I was put in charge of it all for my chapter and I really wanted to push not only my chapter, but the event entirely, to a new level. Skit Night takes place every year in April, I began planning for the 2011 show in the summer of 2010 (I was back home in New Jersey bored out of my mind). I watched each of the films endlessly to gather notes on plotlines that could potentially work, understand the tone of the dialogue, and study Jack Sparrow’s mannerisms. When I returned to school in the fall I put my planning on hold to prepare for Airbands 2010 which took place in October. After Airbands was completed it was back to work. Two of my fraternity brothers, Derek Dolechek and Paul Lee, where my right hand men. We constantly bounced ideas around and worked hard to solidify the flow of the show and any key factors we wanted to include. The show would not have been possible without all of their help and hard work, thanks guys!!

One of my favorite parts about creating this show was selecting the music. Hans Zimmer, the composer of the soundtracks, is a genius. There’s no other way to explain it. I absolutely love his work and it was a pleasure studying the soundtracks inside and out to see which selections I would use in the show. (I could go one forever about Zimmer’s work. Inception… The Batman/Dark Night scores…. don’t get me started)

Choreographing the show, Paul and I worked on using more of the stage than we had previously done and faced our usual issues with this event (similar to Airbands). As much as I may want to add in something intricate, or turns, or a leap, I have to face the reality that these guys aren’t dancers. They’re just your typical 20-something year old fraternity guys in college. So, facing this realization, we strove to keep our choreography realistic, while also pushing the abilities of the guys, and honestly I’m still very impressed with what they were capable of.

After months and months of planning, choreographing, selecting and making costumes, designing the set, rehearsing, going to class, not sleeping, and reminding myself to stop and eat something, it was finally time for the performance. Everything went amazingly and we received a standing ovation from the crowd at the conclusion of the finale. This show has been one of my proudest moments of my college career. It showed me just how much myself and my chapter are capable of doing. Every time I go back and watch this video I’m thrilled at how months of planning, stress, and enjoyment paid off in the end.

[ilightbox id=”3″]WATCH VIDEO[/ilightbox]

    Fun Facts About the Process

  • Davy Jones’ beard is made of yarn (with the stage lighting no one could tell)
  • For about a year during and after the show, most of my friends referred to me as “Captain Black Sparrow”
  • My second place and below theme choices included: Jumanji, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and The Twilight Zone.
  • Jumanji ended up being the theme for Alpha Phi’s skit that year (and happened to be my favorite skit of the night)
  • A year later 2 sororities went with Indiana Jones as their themes
  • Some chapters come up with fake themes to circulate around the community and keep their theme a secret until the show

    Credits

  • Direction: Kevin Cox
  • Choreography: Paul Lee, Kevin Cox
  • Script/Writing: Derek Dolechek, Andrew Carter
  • Lighting: Derek Dolechek, Kevin Cox
  • Audio/Editing: Kevin Cox
  • Costume & Set Design: Derek Dolechek, Tressa Grummer, Kevin Cox
  • Voice Overs: Cody Morgan, Derek Dolechek, Dario Oman, Aaron Bollinger, Dylan Ragland, Christian Efseaff