Dog Day, Dodecs form summer satellites

by John Kim | 7/1/04 5:00am

The existence of the D-Plan provides a significant challenge to campus performing groups as it forces them to persevere each term without key members. This is especially noticeable during the summer, when few outside of the sophomore class are on campus.

However, some groups are following the adage that the show must go on and are simply too passionate about what they do to take any sort of break. In particular, improv comedy troupe the Dog Day Players and co-ed a cappella group the Dodecaphonics have formed summer extensions of their regular groups so that they may continue to indulge their love of performing.

The main difference between the aptly-titled Summer Dog Day and regular Dog Day Players is that there is less of a focus on a long-term goal. There are two types of improvisational comedy. Short form consists of quick games that one would see on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" while long form is more scene-based and has a greater emphasis on character development. Hannah Chase '06, the president of Summer Dog Day, explained, "It's hard to work on long term goals when you only have a few weeks, so for practical reasons, we'll probably do a lot more short form."

"So why are we doing this? Simply put, we love it. We can't tear ourselves away from it. Plus, Dog Day is an extremely close-knit group of wonderful people, and I see no reason why we have to toss that aside just because it's summer," Chase continued.

Meanwhile, the Dodecaphonics have assembled the Summerphonics, a co-ed group comprised mostly of members of other a cappella groups. Kaethe Henning '06 is the president of Summerphonics, and like Chase, she also mentioned the social aspect of the endeavor when explaining its appeal. "After the normal a cappella year, it's actually a welcome respite to sing with new voices," she said. "As cheesy as it may sound, it's great to get to know other people who share our passion for creating music."

Both groups dislike the notion that their summer versions are somehow subpar. They admit that their practices are not as rigorous and that the time commitment is not as heavy. They argue, however, that this relaxed environment is actually advantageous in many ways. Because of the casual atmosphere, internal politics becomes far less of an issue. "There's no real feeling of superiority or inferiority in the group, since there's less of a power dynamic," Henning said.

Moreover, members often find themselves with fewer academic and occupational commitments during the summer. "The members are generally less stressed and are therefore really able to give their all to the group," Chase said.

Henning concedes that the Summerphonics do not hold themselves up to the same standards of perfection that the regular a cappella groups do, but nonetheless, she is enthusiastic about what they can achieve. "With all of the incredible voices in the '06 class, I think that our group might be able to surpass the normal group," she said.

Dog Day also looks forward to working with the new talent. "The people we took are hysterical " they had us laughing throughout the entire audition!" Chase gushed.

Neither group is concerned with the prospect of dwindling audiences. Dog Day recognizes the possibility, but since the shows are so much more informal during the summer, they believe that smaller crowds will suit the group just fine.

The Summerphonics are actually optimistic that their summer shows could attract even larger audiences than usual. "We'll have the fans of all the groups coming to the shows, and moreover, since we can only perform so many times, it makes it paramount for people to attend the few shows that we have," Henning explained.

Above all else, the main goal of those involved is to have fun. "We may only perform four or five times over the course of the term, but that's okay. The main point of this is to enjoy singing with each other and create our own a cappella family," Henning said.

That's not to imply a lack of enjoyment during the regular academic year. Rather, it is a simply an acknowledgement of the unique atmosphere that the summer provides. Chase summed it all up: "It's beautiful. It's relaxing. And we want to create comedy with a great group of people in a beautiful place. What more can you ask for?"