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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Laugh for a good cause

Published: December 1, 2006
Section: Arts, Etc.

With the Seventh Annual Boris Kitchen Sketch Comedy Festival set to complete the Fall 2006 UTC season, producer Rachel Hillman 07 took a few minutes to chat with The Hoot about the show and the general Boris Kitchen lifestyle.

Hoot: Could you tell us a little more in general about the Sketch Comedy Festival?

RH: For the past six years (this is now the seventh year), Boris Kitchen has hosted a sketch comedy festival with troupes from other schools and sometimes professional troupes who come in and perform their sketches for about half an hour, and then we also perform our own half-hour set. This year we are having six other groups besides Boris Kitchen, which is a little smaller than in previous years, to make the show a little more manageable time-wise. On Friday night we will be having a group from Columbia called Chowdah, Boston Universitys Slow Kids at Play, and a professional group called Whitest Kids U'Know, who opened for Flogging Molly earlier this semester and are very well-known on campus and outside of campus. On Saturday night we have Cornells Skits-o-Phrenics, Killroy from WPI, and Yales Fifth Humor.

Hoot: And the sketches that Boris Kitchen will perform at this show are all new, right?

RH: Yes, they are all brand new. We spent about three or four weeks in writing meetings, where we came up with entirely new stuff. Our first show of the semester, The Old Sh*t Show, was all old stuff, so this is the first new show of the semester.

Hoot: Any chance youll give us a hint about what we may see in the new sketches?

RH: There are tons of sketches. There is some stuff about going home from college for the first time, theres stuff about dating, theres stuff about roommates I think a lot of the humor is family-oriented. Not for families, but oriented around families. I would not necessarily be bringing your little sister to the show.

Hoot: I understand the proceeds from the Sketch Comedy Festival are donated to charity. Who is the show benefiting this year?

RH: In past years, it has been Seeds for Peace. This year, we will be donating the proceeds to the Mass General Hospitals Cancer Center Development Office in honor of Orna Kendler, mother of troupe member Ron Kendler, who recently passed away due to cancer.

Hoot: How does BK go about creating the sketches for its shows?

RH: There are a few different ways. The first is that someone writes something on their own and brings it to a meeting. We met three times a week for a few weeks, as I said before. They bring their script, we read it out loud, then we go around and kind of analyze it, decide where it needs improvement and whats great about it. We go through some different tools to make it better, then the person goes back home, edits it, brings it back, and the process starts all over again. Thats one way of writing a sketch. Another way of writing a sketch is someone throws out an idea at a meeting. One person says, I want to write a sketch about the Von Trapp family, and other people take the idea and say, Oh, I could write about that, itd be funny if the Von Trapp family went to Disney World, and then someone else can go home and write it. Or, two years ago there was a sketch called The Elbow Monologues, which was a takeoff of The Vagina Monologues, and that sketch was basically written in a meeting where people just threw out different ideas for monologues and someone wrote them down, printed it out, and brought it in. So, those are three ways to write a sketch. They probably arent the only ways, but those are the main ways that we have been writing.

Hoot: Boris Kitchen has always struck me as a pretty close group. Could you speak a little about your experience as a long-time member?

RH: Its a very fun group to be involved with. Its pretty tight-knit, but I wouldnt say were really cliquey, if the distinction is made. You just spend a lot of time with people. I think with any show on campus, any UTC show, the cast feels really close at the end, and we just have the opportunity to be able to spend four years in the same show basically, so Ive known some of these people since freshman year and others since they were freshman. Its kind of fun to be able to just watch people grow up and expand as actors and as comedians.

Hoot: Suppose I wanted to get involved with BK. How would I go about doing that?

RH: If youre interested in being part of the troupe, were always looking for new writers and new people to share ideas with, so you can send me an email and Ill put you on the writers list. Next semester we have one big show, so we spend a lot more time writing and a lot more time rehearsing, and wed love it if you want to be involved!

Hoot: And quickly, vital informationdates, times, location, tickets.

RH: Its in the Shapiro Theater this weekend, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2, at 8:00 p.m. Its $3 for a ticket either at lunch in Lower Usdan Friday or at the door before the shows, and the money goes to charity.