Marquette has hundreds of student organizations dedicated to uniting the campus community with the Milwaukee community through fundraising and awareness events. But only one brings people together using laughter.
The Studio 013 Refugees, Marquette’s established student improvisational comedy team, originated in 1997. Eight to 12 players use their individual styles along with audience suggestions to create absurd, unique and straight-up hilarious monthly performances for all to enjoy.
The shows are usually held in room 200 in Marquette Hall, 1217 W. Wisconsin Ave. The troupe usually attracts between 70 and 230 people.
Stephen Wormley, a senior in the College of Communication, said each member of the “Fugees,” as they’re often called, brings a different style to the table where all eventually mesh together. The players avoid implementing specific topics like politics or physical humor when creating on-the-spot scenes.
“We’re not just pop culture,” Wormley said. “Everyone’s pop-culture is different. I’d be screwed if we talked about Star Wars for three hours.”
There’s more behind the group than once-a-month performances. The Fugees are tight offstage as well. They spend the majority of their free time with each other forming strong relationships, which is essential to chemistry on stage.
Peter Ritt is a senior in the College of Communication and a Fugee member.
“Improv is very much a medium that demands trust,” Ritt said. “You have to rely on each other.”
Trust may be the number one element of an improv relationship, but having compatible senses of humor is another vital factor.
Wormley explained how all members on the team get along very well. Both John Gallagher, junior in the College of Communication, and Owen O’Riordan, junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said it is nearly impossible to not make friends with someone who makes you laugh on a daily basis.
“It’s really good when you’re in a room with seven other really funny people that can genuinely make you laugh,” Wormley said.
The Fugees also offer students opportunities to join in on their fun. They offer workshops for five weeks, each focusing on a different element of improvisational comedy. Ultimately, at the end of the workshops, participants can audition to officially become a Fugee.
Beyond the Fugees, these students have some big post-graduation plans.
Ritt, who is focused on comedy sketch writing, plans on getting involved in professional comedy. Working with the Fugees and attending Marquette, he said, has helped him decide which route to eventually take. Wormley, who currently does theater and vocal performances, said he also plans to go pro, adding that the Fugees has had a huge impact on his acting style
Beyond the Fugees, these students have some big post-graduation plans. Ritt, who is focused on comedy sketch writing, plans on getting involved in professional comedy. Wormley, who currently does theater and vocal performances, said he also plans to go pro, adding that the Fugees has had a huge impact on his acting style.
Participation with the Fugees has lent the cast a sense of individuality, an excellent amount of confidence and a fully-developed skill set much preferred for a life of professional comedy.