5 years of laughter fuel a theatre memorial


Zachary Araki

Alumni returned to the university for an improvisational comedy performance to honor the memory of three university theatre community members, Brandon Cubas, Jacob Zeringue and Kay Files. The “Cubas/Kay/Jacob Memorial Comedy” is in its fifth year of running.

Zachary Araki, A&E Editor

Alumni returned to their home Vonnie Borden Theatre stage to honor the memory of three university theatre community members with the 5th annual “Cubas/Kay/Jacob Memorial Comedy Show.”

Brandon Cubas and Jacob Zeringue were students, and Kay Files joined the university’s theatre staff in 1993. Files also served as the faculty sponsor for the improv troupe that included Cubas, Zeringue and performers at the memorial show.

2006 Alumnus Casey Saba explained why they decided to hold the tribute show five years ago.

Saba said, “One of our friends named Brandon Cubas, he passed away, and we were trying to figure out a way to celebrate his life, and a network of mutual friends and SLU alumni came together, and we were like, ‘We should do a tribute show.’”

After the first show, the group decided to make it an annual performance.

“It was so much fun,” said Saba. “The vibe was just like the old days. Back in the old days, the comedy show would be on Wednesday nights in the Student Union Theater, and it was always a free show, and the student body got on board, and we used to go out afterwards in Hammond and celebrate and have a good time.”

For Technical Director Benjamin Norman, Cubas and Zeringue were some of his first friends as a freshman at the university.

“When I heard of their passing, it was a pretty big blow to me,” said Norman. “I was all of a sudden flooded with memories of like them taking me under their wing, showing me the ropes of what it’s like to go to college and just interact with humans at this level. They were some of the people who encouraged me to become a part of the theatre program here at Southeastern.”

Files was Norman’s acting and directing teacher.

Norman said, “I only worked with her for maybe a year or two, but she was once again a figure at the beginning of my college career and this human who saw something in me and encouraged me to continue to pursue it.”

Performers in the memorial show like 2011 Alumnus Lucius Falick found and developed their passion for theatre at the university.

“I just fell in love with it from day one,” said Falick. “It was probably one of the main reasons I stayed in school, the family that we have here.”

Norman explained the use of improv in the memorial show.

“It was something that bonded us while we were in school here for a really long time,” said Norman. “As you graduate and you grow apart from people, it’s tough, but when we decided to do an improv show again, and we decided to make it an annual thing, it’s this incredible moment of catharsis both to remember these people who had such an impact on our lives but also to get together with the people who are still here.”

For Saba, the performance reaffirmed the importance of staying connected.

“We came to check in with each other and reconnect and enjoy each other’s company and reflect together,” said Saba. “In overcoming the loss of three people that mattered a lot to all of us, I think there’s a lot of healing that takes place on the stage when we do these kinds of shows. The year when someone passes can be very rough.”

Norman described the performance as a privilege to work with old friends and colleagues.

Norman said, “I forget how wonderfully hardworking and talented the individuals I’m on stage with are because I don’t work with them every day anymore, and each and every one of them inspire me to be a better artist in general.”

Saba explained the value of coming together as a group.

Saba said, “We came together to play games with each other, and I know that’s a silly, almost juvenile concept, but it’s cathartic, and there’s healing, and there’s reaffirmation of the fact that we’re all in this together, and the crop of people we did it with all these years, it was something special to be a part of.”

A stream of the tribute performance can be found on the CaseySabaMusic Facebook page.