Two Pirates Die as Six Pirates are Born

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. 

A Tale of Two Improv Groups

Ciera Miller Contributing Writer

    On March 29, Lincoln Auditorium was bursting with laughter, and not just from UMF’s resident improv group, The Lawn Chair Pirates (LCP), but also from a special guest improv group, the Teachers Lounge Mafia (TLM). First on their own and then together, the groups fueled stomach splitting shenanigans the entire night.

   Steffon Gales of LCP had worked previously with his Practicum teacher, Dan Ryder, in a earlier LCP/TLM collaboration, and Gales thought it might be fun to have one more performance with the TLM before graduating. Together, the two began planning and soon the night was born.

    Members of both groups were eager for the collaboration. “They were all for it,” Gales said of LCP. Jeff Bailey and Kyla Wheeler of the Teachers Lounge Mafia expressed their own excitement. They’d only had one rehearsal before the performance, and although every improv group has their “own flavor, own vibes”, the two worked well together.

   Audrey Keith, recently inducted into LCP, was nervous but she’d worked with Ryder before as he was one of her previous teachers, so she knew his brand of humor and appreciated it. “It’s a little weird to play ‘Sex is like…’ with my old teacher,” Keith said.

   Even Neil Noilette knew the other group. “I play D&D with Jeff and my dad,” Noilette said, “so it made it easier.” Though he was a little wary as well. “If it’s not good,” Noilette said, “it’s 50% not our fault!”

    But the performance was phenomenal, and 50% of it was LCP’s fault.

    The first third of the show was designated to TLM, to introduce the crowd to a new kind of comedy. LCP agreed that the other group had a more experienced style as they have been doing improv for longer. TLM introduced their game “Clickable”, the exact opposite of LCP’s notorious game “Sniper”, and is incidentally where “Sniper” originated from.

   “Yeah, one of the older members took ‘Clickable’, where you ask a person which character they want to know more about, and thought, ‘Hey, what if instead, you killed them?’” Wheeler said, laughing.

   LCP were up to their own tricks in their third of the show. Memorably, Jeremy Tingdahl and Brock Bubat played ‘Nouner’, where the audience gave Tingdahl three nouns and he had to explain them all to Brock, who had to guess what they were. The first noun laid some heavy unhappiness on Michelle Obama’s school lunch policies, the second took Bubar to France where he’d forgotten what Paris was called and was convinced that Tingdahl’s arm was a baguette, and the third noun brought them to a mountain side where Tingdahl tried help Bubar understand that he wasn’t talking about goats, but about llamas. “Brock, they spit, like this,” Tingdahl had said, then acted it out.

   The two groups melded well together. The way that Ryder and Eil Mowry held (and dropped) Simba at Pride Rock caused the audience to burst into laughter. Eli’s comment “Can’t we just get a new one?” struck a similar chord, followed by Ryder retrieving a new baby that seemed more like a zebra than a lion.

   Keith survived playing “Sex is like…” with her former teacher, and it was just like he was another member of her improv group. In ‘The Dating Game’, Gales’ famous character Julian (a young boy going through puberty) found love with Bailey’s Shakira character, though Hailey Craig’s Captain Marvel and Phil Hobby’s kleptomaniac continuously eating nachos created some competition.

   “There was no need to figure out the chemistry, it was just there,” Gales said. The groups expect to collaborate again in the future. Gales hopes, since it’s his last semester at the UMF, that LCP can continue to interact with the Farmington community after he leaves. “We are part of it,” Gales said, “so we should interact more in it.”

    Gales’ last show is April 27 in Lincoln Auditorium. This show will also be the final LCP performance Nick D’Aleo and Jonas Maines as well. TLM will be performing on April 26 at Mount Blue high school.

UMF Enjoys Rare Collaboration

By Kelsey Dunn – Contributing Writer

Students were recently treated to a collaboration of UMF’s Lawn Chair Pirates (LCP), Bust A Move Beavers (BAM), and Clefnotes called “Pirates Bust a Clef” in Lincoln Auditorium. This collaboration has not happened in years, making the performance more surprising and enjoyable.

Each group is different in their own way and brings UMF an extra flare. BAM expresses themselves through dance styles such as tap, hip hop, clogging, and lyrical. LCP is UMF’s talented improv comedy group, bringing laughter to Lincoln Auditorium regularly. Clefnotes is UMF’s pop vocalist group, singing current and popular songs that students can all sing along to.

While students were filling up Lincoln Auditorium, some students sang along to the music that was playing beforehand. BAM members started to clap to a song and urged the crowd to join in. Soon, the room was filled with a rhythmic beat. The three distinctive groups were dressed in different colors; LCP wore red shirts, BAM wore black and Clefnotes wore their white club shirts.

“We spent a long time figuring out how this would all work out because we weren’t around when it happened in the past,” said Josh Beckett, a junior and co-leader of Clefnotes. “We spent a long time trying to figure out the order of who should perform, but LCP and BAM are easy to work with and really fun.”

“BAM was asked to do the event with LCP and Clefnotes,” said Paige Morrison, a senior BAM member. “Our dance routines were from the past semester dances, so nothing new was revealed before our upcoming shows.”

“Pirates Bust a Clef” started with BAM’s opening number, with the Pirates cheering them on and the crowd roaring in applause. The next performance came from LCP, who played three games; Four Square, Bachelor and Sniper. All three games made the audience laugh so much that they were crying. BAM then came back with a great performance, followed by Clefnotes performing seven songs back to back; Marvin Gay, Say You Won’t Go, Eleven Blocks, Say You Love Me, Counting Stars, Put Your Records On and Skinny Love.

The soloists captivated the crowd, including senior Krystal Livermore. “Most of their songs were really good,” she said, though she lamented one song where it was hard to hear the soloist.

LCP mixed some of their roles up, which threw Livermore off. “They mixed up the people who do their original skits. For example, in Sniper, Jonas [Maines] wasn’t the main guy like he usually is,” Livermore said.

“Pirates Bust a Clef” ended with Clefnotes singing Boondocks by Little Big Town and LCP and BAM joining them up on stage. Everyone was dancing and singing along; it was noticeable that both the audience and the performers had enjoyed their night.

Jonas Maines, a junior LCP member, believed the collaboration was a worthwhile experience. “It was a good experience to get three types of different artistic performances together,” he said. “It is to everyone’s benefit when three different styles come together to see what we all do.”

Livermore loved going to the event because she hasn’t been able to go to a Clefnotes showcase. “I loved the three in one because sometimes it’s hard to attend all of these events when we are so busy,” she said. “It was really great to get to see all three groups perform.”

Zack Peercy: Writer By Day, Comedian By Night

By Shana Tilley, Contributing Writer

Graduating senior Zack Peercy will be missed by the UMF creative writing and arts communities he has been an influential part of  throughout his four years on campus. He’s currently the president of both the Lawn Chair Pirates (LCP) and the UMF Writer’s Guild. Recently, he presented an original piece for the UMF One Acts for his Advanced Directing Class, the only student participating to have a self-written play performed.

Sitting in the Student Center at his own desk, Peercy types at his typewriter to show the UMF community that writing should be considered a profession. He intently types away as students pass by, slumped over the typewriter with a bright red clown nose on and engaged in the words he’s typing. A professor stops by to take his picture, which he dutifully poses for.

Throughout the four years he’s spent at UMF, he feels as if the campus has been able to help shape him into the person he is today. “I feel like UMF has provided me with the opportunities to do a lot of cool artsy things, and I have taken advantage of those.”

Peercy has been a pirate for all four years of his college career and has enjoyed the experiences he has had. “I’ve been a pirate for as long as anyone can be a pirate,” said Peercy. I’ve seen the group change a lot, for better or for worse, and I know they’re going to do a lot of great things together, without the burden of me.”

Through LCP, Peercy has been able to partake in many great experiences. “I’ve been able to go to Second City with them to study improv and comedy stuff. That was fun. Second City is this sketch comedy theater that all of the greats from SNL have gone to.”

UMF’s Writer’s Guild has helped Peercy motivate himself to both write and submit his writing to different literary journals. “I’ve been a four year member of Writer’s Guild, I’ve been able to have 12 pieces published nationally online and in print,” he said. “I’ve been president for two years, and I was secretary sophomore year.” The club has been a big part of his experience at UMF.

Sophomore and fellow Lawn Chair Pirate Steffon Gales says he’s been influenced by his close friendship with Peercy. “He is one of my biggest supports and pushed me to participate in the UMF community,” he said. “Zack is a controversial guy and he prides himself on it. I may not agree with most of his opinions and ideas, but I encourage his willingness to debate social norms and bias.”

 Gales says that Peercy challenges the arts and creative writing circles on campus. “He presents ideas that are focused on bringing about change for students. He also uplifts the creative writing and arts communities,” said Gales, explaining that he believes the senior will be missed. “He has made a great impact on our lives and I’m excited to see what he will do in the future.”

Sophomore Kristine Sarasin commented on her experience working under Peercy’s direction in his one act play. “He was a very invested director,” she said. “He was highly supportive of Hailey and I, and encouraged us to try new things and really think about the characters we were playing.”

Sarasin says that Peercy has helped her as a writer by being a supportive and persistent voice. “He’s always encouraging me and reminding me to keep writing, submitting and always keep improving,” she said. “He’s also pointed me in the direction of some really great writers that I’ve been able to learn from. He’s been a very consistently helpful and supportive person.”

Junior Allie Umstadt, current treasurer of UMF Writer’s Guild, says she couldn’t think of anyone else to be president of Writer’s Guild when Peercy was voted in. “He’s always been a driven person. He’s kept Writer’s Guild on track these past two years as president with the help of the E-Board members,” she said. “Despite being a sarcastic twit, and maybe because of it too, he’s brought a life to Writer’s Guild that keeps people coming back.”

Peercy plans to go to Chicago to pursue comedy and playwriting after graduation.