Let it be known that in the year 2012 the students at Gonzaga thought of the one thing that would make GU even better: a sketch comedy troupe similar to Saturday Night Live.
Senior Michael Barfield and junior Jeff Rutherford created the brainchild The Boone Street Hooligans, which performed at the Magnuson Theatre last Friday, and had people laughing and asking for more.
“Michael and Jeff desperately wanted to bring sketch comedy back to Gonzaga. They wanted to recreate a casual, fun, and welcoming environment for students to showcase their writing, acting, and directing,” Stage manager Kelly McKenzie said. “The show was ultimately a success. Every seat in the theater was filled and over 100 people were turned away at the door. Every expectation we had for the show was exceeded and our time in rehearsal was worth every minute of laughter and joy we brought to the audience.”
The actors were excited and nervous to debut their sketches for the GU community.
“I was extremely excited, as well as a little nervous,” junior Chelsea Alward said. “I have been in shows before, but when I found out [the theater was] completely full I had some butterflies.”
Junior Corinne Gould had a similar reaction of excitement, but said “I didn’t get nervous until I peeked through the curtain at the full house.”
Senior Shireen Khinda was one of the lucky 218 people who watched the show performed. About 200 people were turned away because Magnuson Theatre couldn’t house any more.
“I’m happy I got in line 45 minutes before the show,” Khinda said.
“After the show was over, I ran up to the directors Michael and Jeff and asked if we could do it again the next day,” sophomore Ben Yee said. “It was so much fun, I really wanted to do it again. We could have too, we had a full house and still turned away around 200 people.”
Each of the cast members was in about four of the seven sketches, and played a range of characters, from an over enthusiastic barista to Jepson Springster to clueless boyfriend.
The sketches produced more than enough laughs to satisfy the actors and the audience. That’s one reason why sophomore Claire LePollouin attended the show.
“I knew a lot of the people performing and who wrote sketches,” she said. “Plus, who doesn’t love a good laugh?”
The theater program worked hard to advertise the event, and the turnout indicated they did an excellent job. Since the performance is new to campus, the attendance was unpredictable.
“We had no clue it was going to be so popular, but we filled the seats faster than ever imagined,” Alward said. “They laughed at lines that we didn’t even realize were funny and gave us amazing energy to feed off of. They gave us the quickest standing ovation I had been a part of and felt so blessed to be able to make so many people laugh, many to tears.”
“We all just wanted to get out there and put on a tremendous show for the lucky few that made it in,” senior Connor Brenes said.
Freshman Reed Viydo agreed with Yee and Alward that the audience loved the show, and was a little disappointed the show couldn’t be performed again.
Senior Andrew Garcia saw the bright side of the one-time only show.
“I felt great after the show, I actually would have loved to do a second showing but leaving it at just the one I think gave it a really fresh feel,” Garcia said.
Viydo, the newcomer to the GU stage, was lucky to be surrounded by talented actors.
“I felt confident because I knew that I [was] surrounded by talented actors and we all have so much fun together,” Viydo said.
Garcia also felt confident because of the atmosphere that the directors created for their actors.
“I felt great about the show leading up to performance,” Garcia said. “It was one of the most fun processes I have been involved in. It was very smooth and relaxed which I think allowed all the performers to be as creative as possible. Plus the directors gave us a lot of room to play so we never felt like we were being limited in what we could do.”
The show was free, but donations to A Cup of Cool Water, a program that helps homeless teens in Spokane, were encouraged. Even some of the people turned away in line still donated to the cause. McKenzie said a generous amount of money was raised by the show. The Boone Street Hooligans benefited more than the audience members’ spirits.
The question on everyone’s minds is: Will The Boone Street Hooligans come to the Magnuson stage again?
The answer? The actors don’t know. But they do know that they will jump on any chance to be a part of the show again.
“I hope that the theater department will let the Hooligans back on stage,” Alward said. “Bringing laughter to Gonzaga should be allowed more than just once. I would love to be a part of the cast or the team somehow again.”
Alward’s fellow cast members were equally thrilled by the laughs and reactions they received from the audience.
“I was still elated from adrenaline after the show, but it was really sad to know that it was my last chance to work with that group,” Gould said. “The cast and crew are all really amazing people.”
The show was a success for the cast and crew, and an overwhelmingly positive experience for the audience.