This article was originally published in April of 2014.

Jack Burger
Staff Writer

Where are you from?
I’m from Palo Alto, California.

What year are you and what are you studying?
I’m a sophomore. I’m technically declared as a theatre major but I want to make my own major that I would call either Writing for Performance or Storytelling, in which I would incorporate theatre, English, playwriting, and comedy

I understand you are part of a new sketch comedy group on campus. Tell me about it. What is it? Who is in it? Why did you start it?
It is called Zachariah’s Nephews, and I started it because I auditioned for Angels in America, which is a play that is going out this fall, and I didn’t get in. I wanted something to do, so I asked Alex Sarché to help me. He’s a freshman and was the stage manager for Galapago, a musical whose script I wrote. I kinda just emailed people I thought were funny and asked them, “Will you be in a sketch comedy troupe with me? I think you are funny and you would be good at it.” And we have really gotten to know each other. There is probably like nine people in it and our shows are always 8 p.m. on Sundays of third weekend. They are usually 40 minutes to an hour. CC doesn’t have a sketch comedy troupe, and that was probably the main catalyst for me starting it.

What was your involvement with the comedy musical, Galapago?
Wes Brandt, who wrote the music and lyrics and helped a lot with the plot, asked me to write this musical with him during block six of 2013. So I wrote the book, which is what the script is called in a musical, and that went up in January, and after that ended I was kinda like, “What am I doing? I don’t have anything meaningful in my life.” I wanted to keep writing, and I find that the people who do theatre and writing and English at this school are really fun to collaborate with. There was this period after Galapago ended where I wasn’t doing anything and I wasn’t working with people. I found myself being a lot less productive and less happy. Zachariah’s Nephews has made me feel like I have something that I am doing that people look forward to. It gives people a place to write sketches, which is something that didn’t exist before.

What other projects are you working on?
I am working on a play so… but that’s all I am going to say. I will tell you it is satirical, but that is all I can disclose.

What sparked your interest in theatre and performance?
Well, I grew up watching a lot of Woody Allen. I have seen Airplane 12 times. I am an only child, so I would watch a lot of television and a lot of movies and read. I found that I could surprise people, entertain people, and also that I couldn’t do math. I was gifted toward the humanities. I would see people like Woody Allen who would direct and write and act in his own movies and I was like, “Wow! I could do that.” Not to say that I am Woody Allen, but I can perhaps strive for this as a career, and even if it doesn’t end up turning out that way I can still do it in college where there are no repercussions. It is something I enjoy doing and I think laughter is a really cathartic way of dealing with things including misery. I think comedy comes from a place of hardship. I used to be told that I use humor as a defense mechanism, and I in no way disagree with those people.

What do you do for Cipher?
I am an editor for Cipher, and I am also in Twit.

What did you do over block break?
Brian LeMeur and I would hang out in Tutt basically until they opened and then until they closed and just write sketches. That sounds like we were being really productive, but we mostly just goofed off and it was kinda like just being in Tutt made us feel like we were being productive. But I definitely prefer those type of block breaks because I think it is really hard to work on projects on the Block Plan. Galapago took 10 months to write and I think on another academic system it would have taken three to eight months. I don’t usually do the whole skiing or camping thing. Block break is definitely a time to write and sleep for me.

What are your plans for the summer?
I just found out this morning (Tuesday) that I am working in the lit office at the Eugene O’Neal Theatre in Waterford, Connecticut, which is where August Wilson went through who is a really well known playwright and it is where Book of Mormon was work-shopped, and where Avenue Q was work-shopped.

If you were a piece of furniture what would you be?
This is so hard. I think I would be an ottoman because ottomans come with a recliner typically so I would have a furniture counterpart that I could relate to and talk to while our owner was sitting on us. I think if I were just a chair there wouldn’t really be anything in my surroundings. But an ottoman… you have that partner for life.


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