By Samantha Reed
This Saturday, February 16th for one night only audiences will gather at Rider University for a night of laugh out loud sketch comedy. 'Live from Lawrenceville, It's Saturday Night!' or "LFLISN" as it's become abbreviated is a Rider University student's take on the NBC hit show "Saturday Night Live".
Presented through the Tau Eta Cast at Rider, their chapter of The National Theatre honors fraternity Alpha Psi Omega, LFLISN is a completely student run production; staffed with a student director, student writers, student actors and student stage crew. JorDan Scott Friedman, a sophomore theatre performance major, is the creative mind behind the work.
Friedman became an active member of APO last fall after completing a certain number of requirements; for example completing a certain number of on stage as well as off stage work hours at Rider. With his active membership he was allowed to propose a show to be done through APO at Rider in the spring. LFLISN was voted in by other active members of the chapter, and without hesitation Friedman began to work. Initially, he thought he could have the whole thing done within a week as is done on the NBC television show "SNL", but quickly realized for his first shot at this he should take it at a slower pace. Still, in only a matter of three short weeks, Jordan had elected a staff, cast actors and has the show up and ready for an audience. Senior theatre major Tom Garvin acts as head writer and sophomore musical theatre major Johnny Beirne as assistant director. Here's the best part - although it is completely student run, there is one faculty member involved- the Associate Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts and the Chair of the Theatre and Dance Department, Dr. Ivan Fuller is host!
The show really has become such a joy to everyone who is involved, and the campus is buzzing with excitement for the big night. Everyone has been putting their heart and soul into the production; Friedman, with a laugh, said he chose this show "simply because he wants to be funny".
But the journey hasn't been all laughs, he had to work hard to make this flawless in the time that he did. He's explained, "for the actors, I was looking for people who could think on their feet, take any direction I gave them, and were, most importantly, funny. I found so many creative and talented actors, all of whom are totally committed to every scene and have so many great ideas. I also had to know that they would be able to have their parts together in only 2 weeks! Which brings me to my writers: I needed people who could write in the style of sketch comedy, keep the comedy fresh and relevant, and put a script together basically overnight. We had our initial brainstorming session on January 30th, our pitch meeting on the 1st, and then our script the next day. Plus, we've been constantly tweaking the script for the last week and a half".
It's amazing to see so much dedication from a group of students who are working just as hard on their academics simultaneously. Dean Fuller added, "it's really a pleasure to be able to work with the students this way, to let my stuffy, administrator hair down a bit, to be more human. Theatre, of course, is the place where our humanity is best able to be put on display, free of inhibiting barriers, so for me to have a brief moment to unwind with the students, to not take myself so seriously, is very therapeutic...and hopefully rewards both myself and the students".
Even to the actors this production is holding a special place in their hearts. Freshmen TV/Film and Theatre Performance major Jordan Cohen's dream is to one day be on the real Saturday Night Live, so to her this is more than a student run production; it's a step closer to a dream come true. Via e-mail she said, "I was beyond excited for this experience because this (SNL) is my ultimate goal in the future. To get a taste of what it is like just proves to me that there is nothing else in the world that I should be doing."
'Live From Lawrenceville, It's Saturday Night!' has two performances this Saturday, February 16th, 2013 at 7:30 and 10 pm at Rider University's Spitz Theatre.
Complete with sketches similar to SNL's Weekend Update and a musical guest (Rider musical theatre major Eddie Brandt's band "Out Ridden") this is a production surely not to be missed. There is a $5 suggested donation at the door benefiting Rider's APO chapter. For more information on theatre at Rider University, visit http://www.rider.edu/academics/colleges-schools/wca/sfpa/undergraduate-majors-minors/theater.