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Keenan Revue fights crime on Saint Mary’s Campus

Observer Scene | Friday, January 30, 2004

South Bend winters are usually filled with scenes of bundled-up students braving the frozen tundra known as South Quad, late-night snowball fights outside of Coleman Morse and the always controversial, yet always entertaining, Keenan Revue. The winter of 2004 is no different, with the 28th annual Revue adding comedic insight to everything from Michael Jackson to dorm dances to the Middle East peace process.

Keenan residents have been performing the Revue since 1976, when original creators Tom Lenz and Rick Thomas noticed the musical and comedic talents of fellow hall mates during a basement talent show. The show grew from there and has become a campus-wide tradition, drawing crowds from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross. All of the skits are written and performed by over half the residents of Keenan Hall, who often spend two weeks devoted to perfecting their material for this signature event. Although censors often reject a large number of their ideas, the residents still manage to create an off-the-wall, exciting and mostly crude two-hour show.

The free tickets for the Revue were handed out last week to students. All were gone within a half hour, making it one of the most popular events during the school year.

Director Patrick Downey and producer Trevor Kusiak, along with countless other volunteers, including writers, stage managers and choreographers, have been working for the past four months on creating a theme and organizing the many other aspects that go into making the Keenan Revue a success. Close to $13,000 was raised this year, mostly from alumni donations, to offset production costs that accompany the show.

This year’s theme should not disappoint viewers. The residents settled on a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” theme and pepper the show with skits dedicated to those teenagers-turned-crime-fighting-turtles. The show’s opener reveals the real way in which the teens morphed into turtles – by stumbling upon a radioactive beer can in Notre Dame’s tunnels.

The inspirations for such ideas come from the news and events that happen around campus and the dorm.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously; we just want people to laugh,” Downey said. “This shows what 300 guys can put together in two and a half weeks.”

The Revue has its fair shares of cross-dressing, male stripping and all-too-painful-to-watch dancing, but also contains some well-written humorous observations on modern society. Nothing is safe or sacred to this group of students, who poke fun at Notre Dame ushers, airport security, “metrosexual hobbits,” Steve Bartman (the Cubs’ fan), kegs and eggs parties and modern-rap-turned-poetry. There are also several musical interludes that keep the audience interested, if not laughing, consistently throughout the first half.

The second half brings much of the same satirical and often explicit humor, with such skits as “Cracker-t,” “Stephen Hawking’s Drama 101,” Michael Jackson surprising some young admirers and the creative “The Keenan Revue News.” One of the most relatable skits shows two students expecting knockout dates for their dance, only to discover they have been set up with 6’5” lady boys. The show does not lack its share of dorm and St. Mary’s jokes, although most are toned down after the Wednesday dress rehearsal.

The Keenan Revue offers humor for all types and shows the creative talents of the hall’s residents. When asked what his favorite skit from the Revue is, one Keenan resident replied, “Let the show speak for itself.” Indeed, these men show that, like the group’s favorite Ninja Turtle, Raphael, they are “cool but crude.” As the cast likes to remind us, if you have any complaints, keep them to yourself, because tickets were free.