Divine inspiration aids comedy group selection process

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Divine Comedy presents its new cast for the Fall 2014  season. Six new members join the group and prepare for the first showing on Oct. 10.
Divine Comedy presents its new cast for the Fall 2014 season. Six new members join the group as they prepare for the first show on Oct. 10. (Bryson Frehner)

Divine Comedy has been hard at work to find the perfect additions to its band of merry men and women.

After trying out three times, Bryson Frehner finally joined the Divine Comedy team last year. He knows what it takes to make the cut.

“I guess the persistence paid off, because now I’m in. I’ve loved every moment of it. It’s been 100 percent worth it,” Frehner said.

Auditions, which were held Sept. 4 and 5, welcomed 100 BYU hopefuls, trying to bring their A-game to the comedy group’s cast. Applicants are given 90 seconds to impress the judges with their best gags and one-liners.

Frehner said originality is the key to a good audition.

“There are a lot (of auditions) that are very similar, and it can get either boring or messy,” Frehner said.

The group meets at the end of the second and final day of auditions to discuss which 24 students will move on to final auditions.

Auditions start to heat up as finalists reach the group workshop stages. These activities include silly games and exercises to loosen up tense performers. Those auditioning are then given 20 minutes to work as a group to write a sketch, incorporating a specific name, quote or idea.

“It can be pretty stressful or scary to be in a room full of all these funny people and you are supposed to be funnier than everyone else,” Frehner said.

Once the group sketches are done, the Divine Comedy cast deliberates over who will return for callbacks. Once the decision is made, results are posted on the audition room door.

“If their name isn’t there, then they are done. It was really hard this year because so many people were extremely talented. Even whittling down from the 24 to 8 was hard,” Frehner added.

The callbacks include directing a comedy sketch, as well as receiving direction in another sketch. And then the applicants wait.

Cast members look for students who can keep humor clean and funny. Their final decision is not made lightly. Seasoned cast members take to their knees to gain heavenly inspiration on whom to select.

“We definitely pray about who we want in the group, or who Divine Comedy as a group needs. It makes it a little less of a burden on us because it’s not us who is choosing them, but it’s the Lord,” Frehner said.

The final decision was made. Instead of the anticipated four new cast members, Divine Comedy now welcomes six new members to its comedy family: Becca Daun, Brad Witbeck, Emily Hein, Kevin Baldwin, Matt Moen and Sarah Thompson.

Divine Comedy’s first Fall shows will roll out on Oct. 10 and 11. Tickets will be available for purchase from the information desk in the Wilkinson Student Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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