Skits are often short, mini plays for audience education and amusement. Sketches often lean towards comedy with three to four actors but skits may also be serious, touching on the human condition and experiences. Writing a skit means taking a situation and capturing the essence of it within a scene. Begin with action or the most exciting moment in time. Show the conflict or direction the hero/heroine is headed towards and finish with a clear, satisfying ending. The exceptions are if the show is a Broadway musical revue or unrelated compilation of movie highlights.
Snapshots of Life
Pick important moments from everyday life to grander situations. For example, life on the school bus may have as much impact as two adults waiting at baggage claim at the airport. Don't avoid "cliche" moments because it's overdone. For instance, if a skit is about a job interview, use a twist to change what people expect. Dating, proms, proposals, weddings, honeymoons, purchasing a house, the birth of baby and senior citizens offer huge opportunities for people to laugh and cry at the human experience. Themes such as friendship, love and forgiveness are also rich areas to explore.
Re-enact television commercials is a charming way to entertain audiences and bridge the age gap. Despite the invention of DVR, Tivo and the ability to pause live television, people enjoy the universal appeal of a good advertisement.
When setting up a theme for the talent show, consider themes such as time (old or new ads), food and household items or fictional commercials.
Remember the 1980s with twins selling Wrigley's Doublemint Chewing Gum? Or Folger's, "The best part of waking up is Folger's in your cup." How about, "Pardon me, would you happen to have any Grey Poupon? One of life's finer pleasures." Each of the examples would lend itself to creating a skit. Yes, young actors would have to use Youtube.com to see the commercial for the first time. Or do both, the older commercial and then the newer version.
Instead of focusing on time periods, do an array of skits that concentrate on food and drinks. Think about how popular Betty White's Super Bowl Snickers commercial was. Not to mention catchy songs and jingles are fun for everyone and great for an ensemble cast. Think about 'Nsync baby back ribs (for Chilli's), Oscar Mayer hot dog song, Brittany Spears hawking Pepsi and the 1970s song, "I'd like to buy the world a Coke..."
Create fictional products, something not yet invented or use items that could be made funny. For example, imagine a skit showing the STEP inventor (the plastic elevated platform) asking for a bank loan. Explaining all you do is step up and down...and that's it. For younger actors, have a conversation about Japanese erasers or Silly Bandz with a "clueless" adult.
Best Movie Lines & Moments
Everyone loves a good movie especially if there's a great line they can repeat. Create skits dedicated to the best movie and television moments in history even if they're not technically correct. Think about the Wizard of Oz, "Ding Dong the Witch is dead..." Recreate Julie Andrews singing about her favourite things in The Sound of Music or the whistle scene when the Captain calls his children to line up for Maria.
Younger actors might enjoy finding Disney quotes from only villains. Other movie favourites include scenes from How to Train your Dragon, Harry Potter and Twilight.
Older actors may want to tackle skits from scarier film moments like in Jaws when actor Roy Scheider says, "You're gonna need a bigger boat." Or the unforgettable, often misquoted Darth Vader line to Luke Skywalker. "...No, I am your father...Search your feelings, you know it to be true." Other universal movies are Rocky, The Godfather, West Side Story and Casablanca.