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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Experimental Theater Company: A Creative Campus Outlet

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While Colgate University is known best for its academics (and, for a week in March, its fifteenth-seed basketball team), one of the University’s strengths is the creativity of its students and the diversity of their interests. Few groups on campus demonstrate this quality better than Colgate’s Experimental Theater Company (ETC).

ETC is the only sketch-comedy group on Colgate’s campus. Each semester, they hold auditions and then write sketches to be performed in a show at the end of the semester. Currently, the group consists of about fifteen members.

Junior Lauren Sterne is one of ETC’s two leaders. One of her favorite aspects of the group is the diverse and lively community it cultivates.

“It’s kind of a group of scatterbrained individuals; it’s not super Type A, and everyone has a million things going on. So when we do get the opportunity to all sit down, you can appreciate the creative genius and [the many] personalities […]. You just get a really exciting bunch of people together,” Sterne said.

Junior Ini Oyewusi, a member of ETC, expressed similar sentiments about the group’s positive culture.

“I really like how we are all so close with each other,” Oyewusi said. “Everyone feels like family and we also are constantly sharing ideas with each other about sketches. We have built such a positive environment that fosters growth when it comes to writing sketches. ETC was the first group I joined that really changed my Colgate experience for the better.”

“It’s really nice as a [first-year] especially to have made pretty real connections with upperclassmen and with sophomores who are a little wiser to the world than I am,” first-year Luca Yurchak said. “The people are so great and I just love being around them. I look forward to practices just as much to hang out as to practice doing sketch comedy.”

In addition to the community aspect, members of the group noted how participating in ETC has helped them develop their own abilities. Yurchak, for example, mentioned how practicing sketch comedy has improved his communication skills.

“[With] sketch comedy, in particular, there’s a lot of opportunity to incorporate satirical things into it, as well, and to sort of speak politically in a way and sort of mask that with humor, and I just think it’s a smart way to go about getting a message across,” Yurchak said. “You learn to convey messages or make statements through humor, which is a pretty cool skill to be able to do.”

Oyewusi, meanwhile, expressed how joining ETC has led her to feel more confident and outgoing.

“Writing sketches was a very new concept to me and I was nervous that I wouldn’t be good at it, but I have learned how to step out of my comfort zone and try new things,” Oyewusi said.

While ETC does have a strong base of participants, its members expressed their hope of increasing the Colgate community’s awareness of the group. Sterne pointed out that the fear of performing sometimes turned people away from the group, arguing that performing in settings like that of ETC often seems scarier than it actually is.

“What I always try to tell people is [that] it’s not that scary. It’s a super inviting group of people, and you never know if you’re funny,” Sterne said. “I’d just like to encourage people even just to come to the show and see how it is, because I think it could be a really unique opportunity and I don’t think there’s a lot of other outlets like ETC.”

Sterne also talked about the typical gender imbalance in sketch comedy, encouraging women especially to attend the club’s shows or consider auditioning. Yurchak and Oyewusi expressed similar hopes that new people would join either the club or its audience.

For students who seek to hone their communication skills and sense of humor, or who want a new activity and community to participate in, perhaps ETC is the place to be. And for those who are busy but enjoy laughing and supporting the creativity of the Colgate student body, perhaps ETC’s April performance will be worth the watch.

After all, with the exception of the Joker, we could all use a bit more laughter in our lives.

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