Spring 2008 • Volume 14, Issue 2
Cooking up laughs
Nir Chezrony ’08, Alex Blanchette ’08, Lauren Rapciak ’08, and B.J. Enzweiler ’09 are among the members of Bradley’s improv comedy troupe Barbeque Kitten.
Bradley’s improv comedy troupe Barbeque Kitten has been cooking up laughs on and off campus for the last four years. The group began in Fall 2003 when Ryan Scott Self ’05 decided to start an improv troupe on campus. He, along with Rob Tokarz ’06 and Cathy Buck Earleson ’04, began posting fliers and holding open practices on the Quad. More “Kittens” soon joined the litter, and the troupe has grown to become a Bradley favorite.
Today, 12 Kittens are in the troupe, and majors range from electrical engineering to physics to social work to theatre arts. Nir Chezrony ’08, an electrical engineering major, says the need for self-expression draws members to the group.
Chezrony adds, “There is no real explanation for the name except that it came out of Self’s head.” They almost called themselves Four Square Revolution, but thought it “sounded too much like a sports team.”
Barbeque Kitten practices twice a week — a closed rehearsal on Monday nights and an open rehearsal on Wednesday nights. During open rehearsals, anyone can come and “play.” The troupe begins with improv lessons; then they play games to sharpen skills. The workshops examine basic theatrical elements of improv during fall semesters and improv technique during spring semesters.
Open rehearsals can be a little challenging. Chezrony says people with no sense of humor have come to try improv. When that happens, the Kittens turn it into an exercise to see how long they can keep a game going. The group has also run into location problems for rehearsals and has had to move every semester. “We’re stray kittens,” jokes Alex Blanchette ’08.
Chezrony and Blanchette both have several fond memories of performances, but two stand out. Chezrony remembers when Duncan Blickenstaf ’06 played “Theme from Jurassic Park” on the piano while Arius Elvikis ’05 sang along with words he had made up. Blanchette reminisces about a skit called “House,” written by Misty Emmons ’06. The skit, performed by Tokarz and Mindy Smith ’04, involved two children playing house from an adult’s point of view, where they fought and tried to figure out their relationship.
Barbeque Kitten is sponsored by the Department of Theatre Arts, and George Brown, department chair and associate professor of theatre, is their advisor. They perform four shows on campus every semester, as well as several for hall councils and off-campus groups. They have performed for Barnes and Noble, CIBAC, the Pekin Public Library, and other community organizations. They also have performed during summer orientation for the last three years. They will appear on campus March 29, April 19, and May 6.
Visit bbqk.com for more information.
Honoring December grads
Jacqueline Koch ’07 is greeted by President Joanne Glasser after speaking at the December 22, 2007, commencement, the last at the Field House. “It’s about passion. Passion is the engine that fuels imagination,” Glasser told graduates in her first commencement address as Bradley president. Officially, 265 undergraduate degrees and 91 graduate degrees were awarded in December. Visit our Web Exclusives page to hear both speeches.
National Geographic photo award; Professor in national media; Campus construction | Math professors | Artist Bill Hardin | Cooking up laughs; December grads; BU placement statistics | ILR Pacific Northwest trip; Fulbright experience
The Smith Career Center reports the overall placement rate for 2006–07 Bradley graduates is 96 percent. This figure represents the percentage of August 2006, December 2006, and May 2007 bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients who are employed, continuing their education, or engaged in other activities of their choice. New graduates accepted positions with 637 employers, compared to 526 in 2005–06. Offers were accepted from employers in 28 states, and more than two-thirds of the graduates are employed in Illinois. Other states attracting a number of Bradley graduates include Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Campus recruiting continued to increase during the last school year with 429 companies participating in job fairs and conducting on-campus interviews. Five years ago, 251 companies participated.
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