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Screen » Film

Sisters' own "Portlandia"

Sketch comedy show "The Barista Times" debuts



Brother and sister Nathan and Emily Woodsworth give a whole new meaning to the German word "wunderkind."

Nathan, 22, attended the American Broadcasting Institute, studied improv with The Groundlings in Los Angeles—an improvisational comedy troupe that produced the infamous Peewee Herman character and had a handful of members go on to be cast on Saturday Night Live and Madd TV—and, more recently, has been studying acting locally under instructor Derek Sitter. At only 19, Nathan's little sister Emily is a junior studying English at Pacific University in Seattle.

In just a year, the Sisters natives conceptualized and executed the writing, filming and editing of "The Barista Times," a new sketch comedy show based in a coffee shop in Central Oregon that will make its debut at Volcanic Theatre Pub, and on YouTube this Saturday.

The ideas started flowing when Nathan and Emily wound up back home last summer, working together at Sisters Coffee Company.

"I would come home with stories about how crazy customers were," said Emily. "When Nathan started working there we would talk about it constantly."

Nathan quickly took the hilarious and readily available content, and started crafting the stories into sketches.

"After I went and studied comedy—the structures and the theory, it has a theory just like music—I really wanted to do a sketch show," explained Nathan. "Now, there was tons of material for it."

Nathan contacted Sam Pyke, a local filmmaker and owner of Hill Shadow Pictures and he and Emily started co-writing short sketches. Their goal was to write 10 sketches in February. Instead, they wrote 20. By March, they brought the sketches to Pyke and he narrowed the field to six. In April they held open auditions, formed a production company and signed with the writers guild. When all was said and done, "The Barista Times" cast more than 40 people, including extras and stuntmen (Nathan calls them "guys with karate backgrounds") for the show. The show was filmed afterhours at Sisters Coffee Company and features local actors Derek Sitter, Gavin Douglas, and Chris Sulak. They even had McKibben Womack on board, a member of the Sisters city council, and, contingent upon the reception on the web, plan to pitch the show to the chamber of commerce as a promotional tool for the city of Sisters.

Nathan compared the concept of the show to IFC's popular hipster-bashing sketch comedy "Portlandia," but with a more limited scope. There's no moving around the city, the entire show is set in the coffeehouse.

"They're both making fun of a certain type of person in the Northwest," explained Nathan. "Hipsters, ranchers, business people, smoke jumpers, everybody comes into a coffee shop. It doesn't matter who you are."

"The Barista Times"

Sat., July 5

7 pm.

Followed by a showing of Happy

Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Dr.

$5 at, $7 at the door.

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