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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Danger’ brings high-voltage laughs

The Evanston Police Department, University Police and Northwestern’s administration have all failed where student comedy group Mee-Ow has succeeded. Mee-Ow has identified the perpetrator of recent violent muggings: the Super Mario Brothers’ arch-villain King Koopa.

“Back in the mushroom kingdom, I kicka his assa,” shouted Communication senior Jason Kessler as Mario in a Tuesday night rehearsal.

In their new show “Danger on University Place,” Mee-Ow performs eight sketches lampooning the recent troubles on NU’s campus such as muggings and racial tension.

“Our show is definitely edgier than last year,” said Communication junior Bridget Moloney. “With respectful humor, and sometimes disrespectful humor, we are addressing the reactions of the campus and the lack of action.”

Some of the eight planned sketches of the show will comment on the actions of NU and Evanston police, including a sketch about “escort service superheroes.” In a spin-off of the musical number “Cell Block Tango” from the 2002 move musical “Chicago,” Mee-Ow performs as students imprisoned for small crimes such as noise violations and bike tickets, and also features an appearance of the alleged library hypnotist.

“There’s the classic saying of truth in comedy. It’s done with some sensitivity and more than sensitivity — brutal honesty,” Moloney said. “Northwestern’s usual problems have been eclipsed by grittier, darker realities. We felt improv sketch would be the perfect way to address them.”

In addition to the eight sketches, the show contains eight improvisation games, which will be broken up by each performer singing a song from “the 80s, 90s and today, ” according to Kessler.

“All comedians want to be rock stars,” said Communication junior Briggs Hatton.

“I’d be fine with ‘easy jazz star,'” added Kessler.

The improvisation games include “Carpool,” in which three performers adopt audience-suggested personalities or temperaments and at the end of the sketch the carpool “driver” must guess who the other three were. In a game called “Up and Back,” one performer starts a scene suggested by the audience, and then must adapt as each member steps in, changing the skit completely. Once all eight members are involved, they one by one step out, returning to a previous skit.

Because of audience participation in the show, the nature of each night’s crowd is important to the cast.

“Our ideal audience consists of those under the effect of laughing gas, anybody who has been drugged and freshmen,” Kessler said.

Although the show contains the same basic elements of past performances, this year’s show is more topical.

“This show is more cohesive thematically,” said the show’s director, Communication senior Dan Sinclair.

However, the troupe did consider whether its topics would be offensive.

“You always take that chance when you pick a riskier topic,” Sinclair said. “We’re very cautious about what point of view we’re presenting.”

In addition to on-campus muggings and discussion of bias incidents, “Danger on University Place” does not fail to emphasize the most important issues in Evanston, such as the overabundance of deep dish pizza.

“The show is basically about filling in the Lagoon and Norris getting Sbarro,” Kessler said. “They just got deep dish pizza, which we felt is something we needed to address.”

Members of Mee-Ow rehearsed 23 hours a week during Winter Quarter, honing the skills and group interaction necessary for improv.

“I like to think of it like basketball practice,” Kessler said. “You review skills, and then in the game the skills are ready. My shoe has a basketball pump. Would you like to pump?”

‘Danger on University Place’

What: Mee-Ow Preview Show Where: Shanley Pavilion When: Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 and 11 p.m. How much: $5

Medill freshman Crystal Nicholson is a writer for PLAY. She can be reached at [email protected].

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Danger’ brings high-voltage laughs