Based out of Canada, Women Fully Clothed is an ensemble of four women — Robin Duke, Kathryn Greenwood, Teresa Pavlinek, and Jayne Eastwood — with a whole lot of experience under their belts. On the phone with Duke, Greenwood, and Pavlinek in anticipation of the troupe’s April 13 arrival at the Lobero Theatre, the women shared their purpose, progress, advice, and more. Their comedy show is made up of sketches about everyday life. Duke, who has performed on and written for Saturday Night Live and SCTV, described these vignettes as well-written plays that are both natural and built on personal experiences. “It’s a way to look at life and have fun,” she said. “Life is short; let’s have a laugh!”
The troupe first came together a decade ago, thanks to a fundraising event for Women Against Violence. They all shared the same story: Each had worked for Chicago improv group The Second City but at different times. They all knew of one another, and considered each to be an inspiration, but had never met in person. Greenwood recalled that Duke brought them all together to perform at the charity event. It was supposed to be a one-time thing, but the success of the night made touring almost inevitable. Greenwood said she initially declined the invite to head out on the road, “but Robin kept luring me. We would eat together, drink together, and laugh until we wet our pants.” Soon enough they were eating together, drinking together, and going home to write material together. Shortly thereafter, Women Fully Clothed was born. It’s been 10 years since the very first show, and the women are still having the time of their lives, said Duke. “I’ve gotten more creative and productive. I’m working with experienced actors who continue to inspire and challenge me.”
“The most fun we have, though, is what we’re doing right now: sitting in the van, eating, laughing, and shopping … and eating a lot of cheese,” laughed Greenwood. Pavlinek is especially proud of how she’s evolved as a writer. “Our first show was a great trial, and by the second show, I found my voice,” she recalled. “And things just got better, like they always do.”
Because of the name, it’s no surprise to hear that most of the Women Fully Clothed audiences are mostly women. “Absolutely women are the first to come to the show, but they will bring husbands and significant others, and they’ll laugh as hard as the women do,” said Duke. “They get to laugh at themselves, but that’s what we’re all doing — we’re all about laughing at ourselves.”
Pavlinek said that they’ve had a high number of male celebs come see them do their thing, too. “No man will leave this show thinking we’re assholes,” she laughed. “We have a great fan base,” added Greenwood. “We get positive comments on our website, on Twitter …. There was one time where someone called me a slut on YouTube, but frankly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing! I can be whatever I want.”
What they want for the audience is to make them laugh like they’ve never laughed before. “I love it when people leave feeling lighter, and I think laughing does that,” said Pavlinek. “In fact, I bet there are studies that prove it.”
Women Fully Clothed comes to the Lobero Theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St.) on Sunday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. Call (805) 963-0761 or visit lobero.com for tickets and info.