In the July-September Edition instalment of Humans of Medicine, we spoke to Ruby Doherty and Jess McKie. The brains behind the 2022 MedRevue, these two possess a creative and humourous side that shone through in two extremely successful and well-received shows in August. We hope you enjoy their insights into the process of creating such a stunning performance.
First of all, congratulations on two magnificent shows! The reaction from audiences was hugely positive. You must be relieved that everything went so well?
Yes, we are very relieved! Especially after having 2 years without a show, we did feel some pressure to really come back with a bang. The audiences were fantastic, we’ve been so lucky to have had so much positive feedback about the show and we are really grateful to everyone who supported us throughout the year and came to the show. Everyone has been so kind and supportive! We want to give a big shoutout to the members of faculty that came and have reached out since, we really appreciate that they take it all in such good humour and continue to stand behind MedRevue. Their support means a lot! The entire team at every point in the process did such an amazing job and the whole committee is just so proud of the show we were able to put on.
The theme for this year’s MedRevue was “The InMEDibles”. What was the inspiration for this theme?
Every year at the MedRevue AGM (which everyone should come to this year if they are keen to get involved), we have a brainstorming session for the theme for the following year’s show. We discuss many different theme options and consider possible plot lines and then everyone at the AGM gets to cast their vote. The Incredibles was a particularly appealing theme as it was a story that lent itself to a more ensemble cast, which means that we are able to create a wider range of opportunities for more people to be involved.
Can you take us through the process of designing a show?
The very first step is our AGM. This happens at the end of every year after the show. Our AGMs have an open-door policy and everyone is welcome. At this meeting, we recap the show from that year, do all the boring committee things, elect the new committee and select a theme for the following year’s production. The incumbent committee then gets to work over the summer and early the following year planning the script, looking for a venue for a show, sorting out costumes, budget and all the behind-the-scenes stuff.
Next, the creative holds auditions and then once we have our cast, dancers and band we set to work with rehearsals throughout the year where our creative, vocal, and musical directors as well as choreographers coordinate cast, dancers and band to bring the show to life. Meanwhile, our technical team and production team organise the theatre, ticketing, costumes, sets, marketing, promo, lighting/sound design, etc. After about a week of tech/dress rehearsals in August/September time, we then have finally put on a show. It really is a huge team effort and is so much fun to be a part of.
The InMEDibles was really, really funny. What’s the secret to writing such an entertaining script?
The secret of a good script is having a strong cohesive scripting team right from the brainstorming period. Then once it’s on paper it is important to allow time in rehearsals for the cast and creative director to work together to ensure that the jokes and storyline work on stage. A big part of the comedy of MedRevue is also developed throughout this time, as the actors put their own spin on the jokes and the physical comedy is also added. This rehearsal period also allows us to get feedback from cast and crew members in all the year levels about what has happened in their year what they want to joke about and incorporating these things into the script.
Overall, we aim to make sure that the jokes are funny, understandable to a large audience, but also that the jokes are never personal or mean spirited. We focus on incorporating issues relevant to each year level, incorporating jokes that are both med and non-med related so that friends and family can also laugh even if they’re not medically inclined and we love a gentle jab at faculty every now and then.
There are so many moving parts to putting together a show like MedRevue. The script, singers, dancers, band, promotion, venue hire and all the rest! How on earth did you coordinate it all?
This would not be possible without our amazingly dedicated committee who worked very hard to put this show together. It was also helped greatly by a very strong partnership, trust and great communication between us as creative director and producer. Having worked together as co-creative directors last year, we had already had a chance to develop a strong working relationship which we were able to build on further this year. As creative director, Ruby was responsible for coordinating the cast, band, dancers throughout the rehearsal process, collaborating with other creative committee members and all that was necessary to bring the show to the stage. Jess as our producer was responsible for coordinating the committee and making sure everything was happening behind-the-scenes in order to ensure a production could on stage with an audience. Overall, the most important thing was teamwork between all members of the production and especially our incredible committee.
Both of you were responsible for creating last year’s MedRevue as well, which unfortunately couldn’t go ahead. What was it like to put so much effort into a show that didn’t come to pass?
It was very disappointing as we were so close to our performances, with less than 2 weeks from showtime. Tickets had been sold, the show was finished and everyone had put in an incredible amount of effort. It was a great show that we were all really proud of. It was disappointing that it couldn’t go ahead and that we couldn’t reschedule for later in the year but it just became impossible due to the lockdowns, graduations, exams, etc.
However, we had discussions with the cast and crew it was felt that we had all had the experience of doing MedRevue. Although audiences didn’t get to see it and this was disappointing, we all still had the experience of getting to know and work with one another and really engage in that creative outlet. As much as MedRevue is a performance, it is also so much more than just a 2 night event, it’s a 12 month long process between a large team of people you become close with and have a lot of fun with along with the way.
Why should people get involved in MedRevue?
There really is something for everyone! Whether you’re someone who prefers to be on stage, offstage, play an instrument, or work behind the scenes in tech or backstage, there’s something in MedRevue for you. You don’t have to sing, dance or act or have any experience, it’s all about enthusiasm, having fun, making friends and doing something a bit creative. All we ask is that you bring yourself and your sense of humour. It’s also a really great way to meet and become friends with people in other year levels and you can learn a lot from those people. You really get to know the people you do MedRevue with and we are not sure there is another subcommittee that fosters connection and relationships in the same way MedRevue does, purely due to the amount of time spent working together towards a very fun common goal.
MedRevue is a welcoming space for everyone. Our community is very diverse and you don’t have to be massively into musical theatre to be involved, we have a very wide range of people who come to MedRevue and are involved in MedRevue and all are welcome. As it’s not academic focussed, it is a more light-hearted subcommittee experience, people have a lots of fun and look back on their MedRevue experience very fondly.
If you are keen to know more or want to get involved please like, comment, and subscribe and stay tuned for notice about the 2023 show. Follow Monash MedRevue on social media, all updates with be announced on Facebook primarily.