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Categories: Theater, Comedy & Improv, Storytelling

Dates: September 8, 2023

Run Time: 60 mins

Venue: Theatre Exile


“…the audience erupts with laughter. Hemmings obliges, shedding all but his boxers when the scene ends. TSTMRKT is littered with offbeat humor—goofy, unexpected, dark and cynical.”-Las Vegas Weekly

TSTMRKT (pronounced “Test Market”) is a performance art sketch comedy amalgamation held together with film loops, cut-n-paste theatre, and a relentless soundtrack. There is no “sound person” running the effects. It’s just a “start” button and a bag of nerves.

Once the actor hits “start” on the playback, the film collages and sound effects are triggered only by time.  It’s the actor’s task to keep track of each second that passes, each syllable that is uttered, and each movement created in space.  If anything is off, the entire thing falls apart.  It’s a theatrical tightrope.  You’ve never seen anything like it.

Hailing from Las Vegas, NV, TSTMRKT has performed at the prestigious San Francisco Sketchfest, The Cleveland Ingenuity Festival, The Dallas Comedy Festival, The Hollywood Fringe Festival, and the Portland Sketch Comedy Festival. 

Written, directed, and performed by
Ernest Hemmings


About the Artist

TSTMRKT is a random act of cheap theatrics that incorporates time, minimalism, absurd theater, film, and audio collage. Each show is formulated and prepared with no regard for audience reaction. The set is constructed through sound, and the sound is pre-recorded in "real time." This recording is played back during the live performance.  

"How great would it be....No props. No set. Just pure imagination and a suit case!"

"What's with the suitcase?"

"To carry our clothes! And the tape recorder!"

The original "Test Market" performance had us entering the stage nude. We opened the suitcase, took out the tape deck, and pressed "play". The tape started with a recording of me:

"Welcome to Test Market. The show that you have seen, will see, or are currently seeing has already been done. You are now experiencing 'Real Time'"  

We put our costumes on as the anouncement continued...

"All sounds have been recorded onto tape and will be played back in 'Real Time'..."

We did this in the middle of a junkyard. There was a concrete slab in front of a broken down trailer home, and it served as our stage.  

Brand new in town. No friends. No relatives.

Forty people showed up, and when the stunt was complete, we got drunk on malt liqour and passed out in an art gallery. 

TSTMRKT has been a "thing" since 2001 and calls Las Vegas "home," even though the birth of Test Market actually happened on a Greyhound bus, somewhere around Indiana.  


  • Ernest HemmingsWriter/Actor
  • Holland HemmingsFilm Loops

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