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Keenan Hall hosts 42nd annual Revue

| Thursday, February 8, 2018

Starting in the LaFortune Student Center and wrapping around God Quad, the line for tickets to the Keenan Revue began forming in the morning on Jan. 30, and continued to grow until ticket distribution finally began at 4 p.m. Every year, all 4,500 available tickets to Keenan Hall’s signature comedy show typically are given out in roughly half an hour and this year proved no exception, Keenan Revue director and senior David Troyer said.

The tickets are available to all students free of charge, but only two tickets are given per student ID card presented.

The 42nd annual Keenan Revue will be held in the Stepan Center at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and will run for approximately two hours each night. The theme for this year’s event is “Revuena Matata” — a more lighthearted departure from last year’s theme of “State of the Revuenion,” Troyer said.

“We really just chose it because it sounded fun,” Troyer said. “Last year with ‘State of the Revuenion’, that was pretty directly about politics. I think we liked the challenge of it. We enjoyed kind of having to discipline ourselves a little bit, because if you’re going to talk about politics you can’t just half-a– it, so we really tried to be serious last year. Then this year, we thought ‘Revuena Matata’ sounded a little more fun. … It was fun to do the branding and logos, and it really just came down to that it sounded like a fun thing to try. We have a whole process of picking all the themes — it’s a giant list that we whittle down, and [‘Revuena Matata’] just kept coming up on top so we all just liked it.”

Troyer said the initial planning began very early, with new ideas for skits being proposed as early as April of last year.

“We have a couple of skits that have been in the works for a year or two just because we’ve never been able to figure out how to finish them until this year,” he said. “The rubber really hits the road around November. The head writers [seniors John McDonough, Wilson Barrett and Michael DiRe] will have meetings in the basement of Keenan and we’ll start really workshopping skits and figuring out what’s what. That’s when the heavy editing starts.”

Keenan Revue producer, senior Ryan Smick, went into further detail on the process of choosing and refining skits for the show.

“For our skit tryouts, we basically have two rounds, about a week apart,” he said. “The first round is where guys will come and try out skits that they’ve written. In the process, we’ll have the head writers looking over skits making sure they’re not going to offend anybody. For the second round of skit tryouts, we actually bring in people from different campus groups, so they will help us determine what’s okay and what’s not. In the past couple years, we haven’t had really any fallout from offending people. …  For the most part I think we do a pretty good job and I don’t think we’ll have any problems this year.”

Smick said the Revue held two separate promotional events on opposite sides of campus, a departure from past years.

“The first one was a safari-like thing outside South Dining Hall,” he said. “Essentially, we had a bunch of guys in animals onesies goofing around, while a bunch of other guys were promoting the Revue. The second promotional event was basically just a fake protest. We had some guys outside NDH [North Dining Hall] ‘protesting’ the revue, but also promoting it. A lot more effort went into promotion this year than in past years.”

More promotion isn’t the only change to the Revue this year, however. Troyer said the skits and overall tone of the show will aim to be more lighthearted and creative than last year’s show, which focused on the political tension surrounding the presidential election.

“Politics is still thrown in — I think we’d be doing a little bit of a disservice if we didn’t mention any sort of politics,” he said. “This show will be a little different in that there were a lot more guys who came up with out-of-the-box ideas. Usually we’re pretty heavy on dorm stereotypes and things on campus — and we do still have a lot things around campus — but there are a few skits that aren’t entirely unrelated to campus, but could be more funny to outside audiences as well. That’s always something we strive for, but it’s hard when you’re writing specifically for an ND audience. I think this year, the main difference is we kind of let ourselves go a bit, creatively. I think it’ll be a little more lighthearted, a little less heavy on the politics and a little more laughter and smiling, hopefully.”

While the event is, as always, intended to make audiences laugh, it has a greater significance for the Notre Dame community, Troyer said.

“Last year, someone wrote a letter to The Observer about a joke we had in the Revue and how it opened their eyes to something they hadn’t noticed in their classrooms, and that’s the kind of thing we really hope the Revue can do: open peoples eyes to something they hadn’t thought about, or poke fun at something people were a little hesitant to poke fun at, because we have a little more time to think about what we actually want to do with it,” he said. “So, while it’s supposed to be fun and it’s supposed to be lighthearted and give people two hours to not be thinking about their homework and all that, I think it does help start some conversations on campus about bigger issues.”

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