INBLACK, St. Olaf’s favorite student-produced sketch comedy group, performed seven shows over the course of three days this past weekend, running from Wednesday, April 26 through Friday, April 29. The group auditioned new members early spring semester. This year, they added fresh faces Christian Conway ’18, Swannie Willstein ’18, Willem Mudde ’17, Laird Vlaming ’17, and Lindsey Bertsch ’19.
The group performs 28 sketches in a random order, chosen when the audience yells out color and letter combinations. Audience favorites included sketches “Period Sex” about one couple’s comically different definitions of shaking things up in the bedroom, and “Lord of the Clay,” depicting former campus celebrity Randy Clay as Gollum from “Lord of the Rings.”
By far everyone’s favorite sketch was “Holland Orgy,” which depicted St. Olaf’s Board of Regents getting really f***ed up on drugs before making important decisions for the school.
“My favorite to perform was ‘Holland Orgy,’ partly because Grace [Brandt ’17] spit on me several times during that sketch,” Conway said.
All eight cast members also offered a monologue, with topics ranging from deeply personal reflection to a brief parkour show.
“‘John Doe’ – Swannie’s monologue – was such a powerful, emotional piece,” INBLACK member Sam McIntosh ’19 said. “Moreover it’s well written, and so inspiring to listen to. It’s a really tough, personal topic, and to watch her deliver it with such conviction every time she stood up on stage brought me to tears without fail.”
The group also included a sketch that addressed the recent racial tensions on campus.
“This was a really hard one for us … we didn’t want to take up space with regards to our feelings on the issue because the voices of students of color were and are so much more important to hear,” McIntosh said. “Two days before the performance, we decided to try a more objective approach by incorporating what we’ve received in the emails, and synthesizing it with information from a blog from 2013 dedicated to chronicling micro-aggressions on campus during that time.”
The group was originally scheduled to perform 10 shows, but their Saturday run was cancelled after protesters in support of A Collective for Change on the Hill came to the Flaten Art Barn to ask the group to join them in the impromptu Buntrock protests. After brief deliberation, the group decided to cancel their shows and encourage their audience to stand in solidarity with students of color.
“When students came to the Art Barn to speak and disrupt campus life, we went with them,” McIntosh said. “Our decision to cancel was completely inconsequential in comparison to what the movement accomplished.”
Conway echoed McIntosh’s statement.
“It was more important to be part of that and to be in support of that … we do not regret the decision at all, we felt that it was the right thing to do.”
Right now, the group doesn’t have plans to reschedule the missing shows.
“We’re not going to reschedule,” Conway said. “Partly because we don’t want to distract campus from all of the things happening and the important conversations.”