Taylor Burke Contributing Writer
An eerily quiet Friday night on campus had seniors Brock Bubar and Hailey Craig dunking their heads in water during what would be their last show as the Lawn Chair Pirates. Despite the recent closure of the school due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was a crowd of over 75 people who came to get a final laugh at Bubar and Craig’s antics during the show.
Following the game, which finally ended when Bubar guessed that Craig was acting like a Roomba vacuum cleaner, the two held each other in a heartfelt embrace.
This act of friendship is telling of just how intimately close the group is, making the sudden conclusion of Bubar and Craig’s time with the pirates so difficult. “We’re all a big family,” Craig said. “The part I’m going to miss the most is just having a space three times a week where I can go in and make jokes and hang out with my friends.”
Bubar also felt a sense of comradery during his time in the group. “There isn’t a pirate in the group that isn’t like a broski,” Bubar said sincerely. “Just being in this improvisational headspace and being with a group of people who have your back can really push you up from whatever dark depths you happen to be in that day.”
Two days before the show Bubar and Craig realized that it would be their last. “Usually we get a senior video, but we don’t get that this year,” Craig said.
Instead, the two gave a speech in which they addressed the crowd, expressing their heartache, and saying goodbye. “We’ve cried about it a lot,” Craig said during the speech. Around the auditorium, the faces in the audience were somber, but after the speech finished, the whole crowd cheered for the two pirates.
Craig was thankful that they were able to hold a final show, even though UMF would be closing. “We’re really happy that we still get to hold the show tonight because it’s the last day on campus for a lot of people,” she said. She hoped to provide that last laugh to the audience before they had to leave.
The name of the show, “Friday the 13th,” was eerily relevant in such a scary and confusing time for those on campus, especially seniors. The quick turn of events left Bubar and Craig uncertain about what lay ahead, and sad about everything they weren’t prepared to leave behind so suddenly. “I was not ready to just lose everybody so quickly,” Bubar said. “And also I’m not ready to just jump into the professional workforce.”
Craig nodded in agreement with Bubar as she contemplated her own future, which was quickly becoming a reality. “I don’t really have time to be scared anymore,” she said frankly.
As the two senior pirates “died,” six new pirates were “born” to make the show not only about goodbyes, but about hellos as well. In an opening video shown prior to the final performance, the new members were featured telling scary stories around a fire which included existing members of the LCP.
Junior Sophie Hendrix is one of the six new members of the group. Hendrix had already been part of theater at UMF, but wanted to expand and try something new. She felt LCP was that opportunity. She’s had to get used to being flexible, because improv is very different from line memorization. This show was her first and last of the semester. “Being my first show I’m like super excited,” she said with a smile. But Hendrix was also upset that it was her last show, especially because the seniors were leaving. “It’s going to be sad without Hailey and Brock,” she said. “I’ll miss their energy.”
Sophomore and theater major Paul Riddell is another new member of the group. He has been involved with improv since fourth grade, and was really eager to be a part of the LCP. “It’s really exciting to see all of the potential that the group has,” Riddell said. “But it’s really sad to see two great pirates go and two close friends of mine as well.”
Riddell hasn’t been with the pirates for very long, but his bond with the two seniors makes it hard for him to see them leave. “I’m definitely going to miss what they bring to the table and just them as people,” he said. “I’m really close with both of them.”
Junior Katie Shupp was in the audience during the show, and was excited about the abundance of new members entering the group. “It’s going to be a full house,” she said. Shupp has been to many shows and watched Bubar and Craig grow and develop as entertainers during her time at UMF. “We’ve been with them for three years now so it was a nice ending,” Shupp said.
Bubar was in his seventh semester with LCP and Craig was in her eighth, which made them a big part of the established foundation of personalities that audiences came to enjoy.
As the show came to a close, audience members filed out of the auditorium. The few that stayed congratulated the new members and said their goodbyes and thanks to the seniors. Amongst the loud chatter Craig, covered in a blanket due to her soaking wet clothes, received a bouquet of flowers with a look of surprise and happiness written on her face. Bubar, also drenched in water, hugged fellow pirate Jeremy Tingdahl after announcing that he would lead LCP in the following semester. The pirates mingled with their fans as the night wore on, continuing to fight the looming uncertainty with comedy and humor.