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Keenan primes for ‘Revue’

Kristen Durbin | Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Whether students are ready or not, the Keenan Revue is back with new skits, new satire and nearly four decades of tradition to uphold.

Preparations for the 37th annual Revue are in full swing after the first round of tryouts this past weekend, and the show’s administrators are optimistic about this year’s potential acts, Senior Producer Raymo Gallagher said.

“We haven’t picked any of the final skits yet, but we definitely saw some good ones and we found a couple that people will remember past walking out of the Stepan Center doors after the show,” Gallagher said.

The Revue, a campus tradition since 1976, is a variety show comprised of sketches and satirical comedy written entirely by the residents of Keenan Hall. This year’s installment, titled “The Keenan Revue: The Revue Strikes Back,” will take place February 9, 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. in the Stepan Center.

Gallagher said the team behind the Revue wants to emphasize that the event intends to make fun of life as a student at Notre Dame without being malicious.

“Our view of the Revue as a whole is our commentary, our take on life on campus and on pop culture as well,” Gallagher said. “Some people may disagree with the take we have on it, but it’s not meant to insult or offend any specific person or group.”

In light of the Revue’s mixed reception by University administrators and students in recent years, both Gallagher and senior director Brian Bettonville emphasized the light-hearted motives behind the show’s envelope-pushing material.

“Out intent is to provide satirical humor for the men of Keenan and people on this campus to enjoy, but incidents over the last couple years have made us more aware that people may take a different view of the skits we put on,” Gallagher said. “We know we’re never going to please everyone, but as long as [the audience] goes into it with a good mindset, it will work out.”

Bettonville said the performers want to be satirical without being mean-spirited.

“We want you to laugh with us, we don’t want to laugh at you,” Bettonville said. “We do our best as administrators of the Revue to make sure there’s no malice involved. The Revue should not be a stick to poke people with.”

Although last year’s Saturday night performance was shortened due to issues with the material, Gallagher said the traditional spirit of the Revue will remain intact.

“Based off last year, people might think we will completely tone it down and take a different approach to the Revue,” he said. “I think people would be disappointed if they choose not to go to the show. It’s still going to be the Keenan Revue, and based on the good material we saw in tryouts, people will enjoy it.”

However, Bettonville said criticisms of the show would not fall on deaf ears.

“That said, we are going to be more careful because we don’t want to have shortened shows,” he said. “We are going to try really hard to have everything all the nights, so we’re working to try to make that happen.”

Gallagher said the Revue’s storied past is also crucial to the future of the event.

“This isn’t just a Revue for this year,” Gallagher said. “We see the Revue as continuing a tradition that Keenan has established over the past four decades, so we want to make sure we continue the tradition for future Keenan guys and set the Revue up for a strong future while honoring the past.”

Despite the challenges the Revue has faced in recent years, Bettonville said he is confident the Revue will maintain its reputation and longevity as a unique campus event.

“There have obviously been changes and with changes there are growing pains, but we think the Revue is strong enough to go through that,” he said. “We are going to do everything in our power to keep it that way.”

After the Revue moved from Washington Hall to the O’Laughlin Auditorium at Saint Mary’s College, then to the Stepan Center in 2011, Gallagher said the show has proved to be a unifying element between Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross over the years.

“I think the Revue has demonstrated itself as a great tradition that not only Keenan [Hall] enjoys, but also people on campus and at Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross,” he said. “That goes to show what kind of event it is.”

Free student ticket distribution for the Keenan Revue begins Wednesday at the Joyce Center box office at 5 p.m.