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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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Mee-Ow brings smiles, laughs to Shanley Pavilion in “Brokeback Mee-Owntain” show

Edward Simon Cruz/The Daily Northwestern
“Brokeback Mee-Owntain” was one of the two shows Mee-Ow staged this winter for its 50th anniversary.

Student-run comedy group Mee-Ow had audiences howling with laughter in “Brokeback Mee-Owntain,” a show full of cowboy hats, music and audience participation. 

The group, which combines sketch comedy, improv and music, performed “Brokeback Mee-Owntain” at Shanley Pavilion from Thursday to Saturday. The theme was inspired by the 2005 film “Brokeback Mountain,” which is based on a short story about two American cowboys who fall in love with each other. 

This was the group’s second show of the quarter, following “Mee-Owd Life Crisis: Mee-Ow Turns 50!”, referencing the celebration of the group’s 50th anniversary this year. 

The group’s eight cast members performed various sketches they wrote and workshopped throughout the four weeks preceding the show. In addition to standalone sketches and shorter bits known as “blackouts,” the performers incorporated several jokes that recurred throughout the show.

During one particularly well-liked sketch, a pig cried in a bar bathroom while overhearing others unknowingly use offensive idioms about pigs, including “lipstick on a pig.” The sketch ended with the actor playing the pig running out of the venue in glee after overhearing someone say, “when pigs fly.” 

A live band set the interactive mood by performing during transitions and a dance break that substituted a typical intermission. 

Communication seniors Alondra Rios and Orly Lewittes have been Mee-Ow cast members since their sophomore years and co-directed both shows this year. 

Rios said Mee-Ow has been one of the most valuable parts of her Northwestern experience. 

“I think I learned the most in the writers room with Mee-Ow and making work with my peers,” Rios said. “I learned how to collaborate with others and how and how to let my voice come through in the work that I make.” 

Performers also showcased their individual comedic styles and quick wit by participating in various improv games based on audience suggestions. One game began with audience members providing various pieces of dialogue that participants were required to spontaneously incorporate into their bits. 

Mee-Ow modifies the order of its sketches for each performance depending on audience reactions, requiring crew members to adjust accordingly, according to Communication junior Henry Patton.

“Comedy is really something that lives in the immediate moment, and so we have to design our technical process to be as responsive to that as possible,” Patton said. 

Former Mee-Ow cast member and co-director Sam Buttress (Communication ’23) said he enjoyed watching “Brokeback Mee-Owntain” on Friday knowing the amount of work required to stage the show. 

Buttress said his time in Mee-Ow prepared him for professional comedy experiences with groups like Chicago’s Second City.

“Once you put together a show in three weeks with very little guidance and a group of people who you trust … you’re ready for anything,” Buttress said. 

Mee-Ow will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a series of panels and an evening party April 6. Various alumni will be present at the events. 

Paul Warshauer (Communication ‘76), who attended Northwestern from 1972 to 1976, co-created Mee-Ow and co-produced its first show with Josh Lazar (Weinberg ‘75) in 1974. When he attended a performance of “Brokeback Mee-Owntain,” he said he was proud to see the group grow over the last 50 years and that he is excited to see what the next 50 years will bring. 

“I’d like to stay alive long enough so that I can go into space and see Mee-Ow on the moon,” Warshauer said.

Email: [email protected]

X: @edwardsimoncruz

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