With ‘Worst Case Scenario,’ Single Carrot Theatre returns to sketch comedy

Mike Smith (left) and Jenna Rossman perform in Single Carrot Theatre's "Worst Case Scenario." Credit: Britt Olsen-Ecker Photography

Mike Smith (left) and Jenna Rossman perform in Single Carrot Theatre’s “Worst Case Scenario.” Credit: Britt Olsen-Ecker Photography

‘Listen to Elliott Rauh and Jessica Garrett read a sketch about jogging from Worst Case Scenario’

“Worst Case Scenario” is the name of the new sketch comedy from Baltimore’s Single Carrot Theatre. It’s an original production featuring 15 miniature plays focusing on fear – what’s the worst thing that could happen in seemingly innocuous situations, like doing the dishes or going for a jog.

For the members of the Single Carrot Theatre troupe, “Worst Case Scenario,” which runs through Saturday Dec. 21, is both a departure from more serious fare and a return to their roots. Since debuting here in 2007, Single Carrot Theatre has staged more than 30 productions – from dramas to tragedies and back again. Sketch comedies, not so much.

Until now, they’ve done only one, “Sects and Violins,” which was their first sold-out production in their first season six years ago. Why wait so long? According to Jessica Garrett, the show’s head writer and director, it was a matter of timing.

“We will meet here five years from now and we will do another sketch show,” she said with a laugh. “It just seemed like the time was right again. We’d explored some original shows that were not comedies, and I think finally the itch was back to  go back to writing an original comedy together.”

In the play, we meet a pair of recent widows as they go out to a club for the first time, an unconventional therapist, and two salesmen who are trying to meet their quota by using cocaine. For the record, Garrett would like to note that there were no hard drugs used while writing “Worst Case Scenario.”

“We went for more of just hard liquor,” Garrett said. “We’d take some shots off my living room floor, and that’s where I find the real brilliance is – the bottom of the shot glass.”

Single Carrot has added a 10 p.m. “director’s cut” performance of “Worst Case Scenario,” which Garrett says is like watching the special features on a DVD. There’s also a drinking game, which Elliott Rauh, Single Carrot’s managing director, is happy to share.

“Any time you hear the phrase ‘Worst Case Scenario,’ you take a sip of your beer,” Rauh said. “If you see somebody naked, you drink off of your neighbor’s beer, if you see someone who dies while being naked, you have to finish your drink. I believe there’s one other rule.”

“If someone dies, you take two drinks,” Garrett adds.

“Two drinks if somebody dies,” Rauh said.

In the near future, the members of Single Carrot hope to take one of their productions on the road, and Rauh and Garrett think “Worst Case Scenario” is a prime candidate. Of course, they’d have to cut some sketches like “Ravens World,” where they praise and poke fun at our favorite Baltimore football players. Currently, Single Carrot only tours with their children’s show, “Rumpled,” which is at the other end of the theatrical spectrum.

It might be a while before Single Carrot Theatre puts on another sketch comedy, according to Garrett.  They don’t want to become identified as a comedy troupe.

“Theater is a very, very tiring, very difficult business,” Garrett said, “but something that keeps our energy up is being able to say, ‘Doing sketch was amazing, what a ride, we’re going to put that away and do a serious love story now.’ And that’s something that our patrons have come to like – when they walk in the door, not only will the set be different, but the feeling they have when they walk out will be different.”

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