A picture I took for the Fugees after their 12 Hour Show (because yes, I was there at 6 AM). This is before they got their Newgees. From left: Brendan Takash, Chris O'Reilly, Spencer Rose, Bill Lacy, Charlie Mohl, Aliza McKamey, Cassidy Wilson and Jena Wallander. Not pictured: Joe Donahue.
After my Journalism 1550 class last semester, it should be no surprise to anyone that I did another near-semester long project on the the Studio 013 Refugees. This time around, I decided to do an even more in depth story than last semester, if that was even possible. Here is how it was done. 

The Story
I came up with the idea for this story back in May. When interviewing former Studio 013 Refugees president for my Journalism 1550 project, he mentioned attending a workshop before he auditioned for the group. After being around the group so long last semester, I had never learned what the workshops were all about. The following month, I was hired for Marquette's Student Media Interactive. Right off the bat, I had my first story idea: to find out what these workshops were all about. 

I talked to presidents Bill and Charlie at Marquette's organization fest during the beginning of the semester. I pitched my idea to them – documenting the process of becoming a member of the Fugees. They agreed to it. Just like that, I was about to spend the majority of my semester with the Fugees again.

Both of my Fugees projects have lasted over the course of a couple months. I intended the first project to only involve photographing two Fugee practices and one show. But, due to circumstances in my class, I ended up photographing four practices and two shows. I was around for a good three months.

If you ever hear the term “Newgee” thrown around on Marquette’s campus, looking up the definition online will do you no good. No, the term does not belong to another language. The word is a title for the newest members of Marquette’s improv troupe, the Studio 013 Refugees, also known as the Fugees. A Newgee is created after four weeks of improv workshops and a week of auditions.

The responsibility of organizing workshops and auditions falls to the group’s presidents, seniors Bill Lacy and Charlie Mohl. At the beginning of every fall semester, the Fugees hold improv workshops to recruit new members for the group.

“Each workshop is themed,” said Lacy. “The first one is introduction to improv, the second one is characters, the third is scenes and the final workshop brings it all together.”

Before each workshop, Lacy and Mohl pick out various improv games that fit that night’s theme. Before each game, they explain how it works and have other Fugees demonstrate the game. While workshop attendees play the games, Lacy and Mohl sit up front and watch. The pair watches for people who can follow the three rules of improv. The first rule is “yes and,” which means a player must add to fellow players’ ideas in a scene. The second and third rules are “don’t negate” and “don’t ask questions,” which mean you should never reject an idea that is developed in a scene. Mohl and Lacy also look for people who can work well together in scenes.

“The real goal of improv is to make everyone you’re playing with look good,” Mohl said.

This year’s workshops had an attendance of between 12 and 18 people. It is not required that those intending to audition attend workshops, but it is encouraged. The auditions have the same basic layout that workshops have. Lacy and Mohl pick out games for the Fugee hopefuls to play. However, instead of guiding attendees like they did at workshops, Lacy and Mohl simply sit back and observe the games.

“I remember almost throwing up in every scene I was in,” Lacy said of his own audition experience. “You had all these people intimidatingly sitting in the back.”

“And all of them with notebooks!” Mohl interjected.

As soon as auditions are over, Lacy, Mohl and the rest of the Fugees discuss their options. They pass around each application they receive and look back on each individual’s performance. If needed, they discuss the strengths and weaknesses of particular applicants. Deciding on a Newgee has to be a unanimous decision. Even if only one Fugee strongly feels that a person is not right for the group, that person is immediately out of consideration.

Once the group decides on their Newgees, a list is posted outside of Helfaer Theatre’s Studio 013, which was the original practice space for the group years ago and its namesake. This year, the group acquired four Newgees: freshman Connor Welch and sophomores Ciara Collins, Liz Formella and Hannah Klapperich-Mueller.

The Newgees were introduced to the crowd at the end of the Fugees’ October show. Welch, Collins, Formella and Klapperich-Mueller will be fully immersed in the Fugees show, “Debate Cheetos,” this Friday at 8 p.m. in Marquette Hall 200. Check out the show for some laughs and to see some real-life Newgees up close and personal.

*Story appeared on www.marquettetribune.org
After about 20 hours at play rehearsals, over two and half hours of interview footage and probably nearly 15 hours of editing, my video is finally done. Now, if you are intimidated by the half hour-long video that lies above these lines, never fear. I also broke down my video into a nine-part playlist which you can view here

So, a few days ago in a journalism class, a guest speaker mentioned a behind-the-scenes article he did for another article. He had some sort of term for it... something with "nerd" in the title. I liked the idea, and decided to go with it. If you couldn't guess, I am a big fan of the behind the scenes stuff. 

I first heard about the play back in April, when the production was cast. I had known Chris, who plays Charlie, since last year, and knew he was auditioning for the show. When I asked him what the show was about, all I got out of him was "It was an off-Broadway play that starred Matthew Broderick." Fast forward about two months, when I was hired to work for Student Media Interactive. All summer, I brainstormed ideas to work on for the upcoming school year. I came up with the idea to do a behind-the-scenes of Diederich's student film festival, which takes place in the spring. I really liked the idea, so I started to get antsy. Then, I remembered "The Foreigner" coming up in the fall.