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Fall Follies ready to bring laughter in 23rd year

Students have waited in long lines outside of the Massey Performing Arts Center every fall for the last 22 years in anticipation for Belmont’s annual sketch comedy show, Fall Follies.

The show is set up in sketches like Saturday Night Live and pokes fun at the university in much of the same way.

“Belmont is an incredible university in some regards, and then — in other regards — not as much, and I think that’s the deal with every university,” said Follies player Jones Kolbinsky. “So we pick and choose and make some tongue-in-cheek jokes about it, and it’s just a winning combination in my opinion.”

The show allows the audience to see typical college experiences from a new and exaggerated point of view, like working for the school paper or seeing your freshman year dorm for the first time.

“I think Fall Follies is so special because everyone puts a lot of care into it — everybody has really good intentions with it,” said Follies Producer Kendra Baude. “It’s just supposed to be a place where people can come and laugh together and be a community together.”

The players for Fall Follies are chosen each spring through a series of auditions and come from all majors. Typically, cast members all have their own roles within the show — such as players, writers and producers.

But this year has gone a little differently.

“We don’t need structure as much as we have in the past. Our writers are performing, our performers are writing, our producers are performing, our director is acting and writing,” Kolbinsky said. “It feels like the pot of creativity is just stirring, and that helps the entire process go better.”

The rehearsal process starts with improvisation at the beginning of the school year, while writers work on creating their scripts. At the end of every rehearsal, the players read through and work on sketches. This process goes on twice a week until the show begins.

“This past week has been heavily Fall Follies for me, so I honestly wake up, work on Fall Follies stuff for like 4 hours and then go to class. Then I continue to work on Follies, then go to practice,” Baude said. “This week has definitely clocked at least 4 hours a day.”

“It’s crazy, but everything seems to be coming together, which is good. Some things more slowly than other things, but I think it will come together.”

Though the show is only one weekend, it comes at a great time for Belmont students struggling to keep up with large workloads and finals coming up around the corner.

“It’s a nice place to come and escape for two hours from school, and midterms and everything that’s going on. I think that everybody puts a lot into it,” said Baude. “I think it’s just the passion that comes with the cast and everyone.”

Fall Follies opens Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in MPAC, with shows also on Friday and Saturday night. Tickets are free, but it is recommended students show up early to guarantee a seat.

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