Heartburn for life

Photo: Acid Reflux will perform at “Laughing for Life” on
Saturday, April 14, at 10 p.m., and Sunday, April 15, at 2 p.m.,
at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 32 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville.

Kaneland grad’s comedy troupe—Acid Reflux—performs for Relay for Life
by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—To say that Bryan Renaud is familiar with the Kaneland community would be an understatement—he has resided in Elburn, Kaneville and Sugar Grove during his lifetime. The Kaneland School District was also where Renaud made the decision to follow his dreams and pursue a life in theatre and music.

“I went to Kaneland schools my whole life … There was a reason that my family refused to leave the district. The teachers and programs there are great, especially the arts programs,” said Renaud, a 2009 Kaneland High School graduate who currently resides in Sugar Grove. “I knew at a young age that I needed to be in theatre and music, and Kaneland was a good place to follow that dream. All of the schools offer numerous theatrical productions a year to be involved in.”

In 2006, Renaud co-founded the Acid Reflux comedy troupe with Will Burdin of Batavia. Since then, the troupe has averaged close to 10 performances a year at local theatres, community centers, gymnasiums and classrooms.

Two of Acid Reflux’s performances in 2012 will take place this weekend, when the comedy troupe performs at the second annual “Laughing for Life” event in Naperville. Proceeds from the event will go to Relay for Life.

The shows will also mark the second-straight year of collaboration between Renaud’s comedy troupe and The Company, North Central College’s theatre organization.

“We knew we were going to collaborate with The Company after the success we had in 2011 with the first ‘Laughing for Life.’ Last year, we raised $1,000, and this year we want to double that,” Renaud said.

According to Renaud, Acid Reflux is an all-around hilarious show that lampoons everything from “Twilight” to politics, musicals and more. He said the show’s material is similar in set-up to “Saturday Night Live.”

“We have characters that are the people you love, the people you are related to, and the people you try to avoid … most of our sketches are so rooted in reality, you can’t help but laugh,” Renaud said.

Renaud said the show’s material is what garnered the comedy troupe its spots in the Chicago Improv Festival in 2010, and the Chicago SketchFest this year. These events are two of the biggest comedy festivals in the world, and the troupe shared the stage with stars from Hollywood, The Second City, etc.

The current Acid Reflux show has been in the works since last December.

“We held auditions to add people to the troupe all the way back in September, but this is the first time that this full cast will be performing together. Everyone is really excited and it’s for such a great cause,” he said.

As a young thespian who began acting on Kaneland theatre stages, Renaud played the role of Lumiere in “Beauty and the Beast,” George Gibbs in “Our Town,” and directed his own one-act during his senior year of high school. Renaud was also involved in Kaneland choir, which he called “simply amazing.”

“It’s been a few years since I went (to Kaneland), and I’ve seen very few choral groups as good as Kaneland’s-high school, collegiate or otherwise,” he said.

Renaud’s time at Kaneland led him to study theatre performance at North Central College. The school’s deep connections with a few of the big-name theatres in Chicago allowed Renaud to secure multiple auditions at Chicago Shakespeare and Steppenwolf.

“I’ve had best friends work at both (theatres). Just the fact that students are getting seen by these amazing theatres is huge enough,” he said.

Acid Reflux will perform at “Laughing for Life” on Saturday, April 14, at 10 p.m., and Sunday, April 15, at 2 p.m., at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 32 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville. Admission to the event is free, but for every $5 a person donates, they will receive a raffle ticket. The raffle will feature over $250 in prizes each night

“We’ve got tons of local gift cards, as well as tickets to local professional shows, costume rentals at All Dressed Up Costumes and more,” Renaud said. “One lucky winner may even get a serenade. You never know what to expect at an Acid Reflux show.”