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Groups discuss Keenan Revue

Natalie Bailey | Monday, January 26, 2004

In an attempt to eliminate the controversy surrounding the Keenan Revue, Keenan Hall rector Father Mark Thesing and two Saint Mary’s student officials met Friday to discuss their concerns regarding the upcoming annual variety show. Sarah Bailey, Women’s Issues commissioner for the Board of Governance, represented the Saint Mary’s Keenan Revue Committee in the meeting and was accompanied by Student Trustee Sarah Mahoney. “This meeting was groundbreaking and will influence the future [because] we have laid the groundwork for talking to Keenan before the Revue,” Bailey said. “The same issues come up every year and Saint Mary’s and Keenan have never met before the show. We want to keep things civil and enjoyable.”Thesing declined to comment on the meeting or the Revue in general.Bailey said she presented her specific concerns about the Revue’s use of potentially offensive stereotypes, and she said the show’s material often focuses on racism, sexism and social issues. Mahoney said she asked that Keenan consider the College’s mission in preparing its material. Both women said they felt that Thesing listened to their concerns and suggested practical ways to address issues.”Some things guys just don’t get,” Mahoney said. “It may not be offensive to them, but if they think in a broader sense and talk about all the possible ways people can be offended, it is our hope they will weed those things out before they get into the show.” Mahoney said Thesing screened the skits Friday night. Each evening, the show will start with a disclaimer stating that the Revue is self-mocking and has no intention of offending the audience.Mahoney said that, as a result of the discussion, she hopes that planning for the show will start earlier in future years and avoid many offensive jokes. “The success of our efforts will depend [on] how much the producers and rector push the men of Keenan to do this,” Mahoney said. “This has to be something they value and want to do.”The Saint Mary’s Keenan Revue Committee will screen the variety show Wednesday. The committee consists of Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president, two members of Holy Cross College’s student government and may include two Notre Dame representatives. The committee also plans to meet with Keenan residents after the show to review how jokes worked, whether people were offended and how the Revue can improve.”This was a good first step,” Bailey said. “[Thesing] was very nice to come over to meet with us, but, in the future, we need to do more before the event.”