Medical students shared laughs and poked fun at the medical school experience during the annual performance of In Vivo, Feinberg’s sketch comedy and variety show, held on December 8.
This year’s student-led production, held in the Hughes Auditorium at the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, raised money for Chicago Street Medicine, a grassroots interprofessional organization that provides free medical care to people experiencing homelessness.
The evening featured comedy sketches written and performed by students as well as dance and musical performances.
The show was directed and written by second-year medical student Riya Saxena and produced by second-year medical student Carolyn Hu. Video skits were filmed and edited by Alan Luntz.
“I love that In Vivo is a change of pace from what we normally do in medicine,” Saxena said. “It’s also a really fun way to get to know people in my class, because throughout the process of writing and filming these sketches, I’ve gotten to meet so many more people. We also get to go out of our comfort zone and be a part of a sketch; some of the students have never acted before. Overall, it’s a great event to do to make sure students have balance in their life.”
Comedy sketches in this year’s show satirized the medical school experience, from clinical training and exams to good-humored impersonations of Feinberg faculty.
In addition to directing, Saxena starred in a video skit where she played Tod Flambers, a satirical Feinberg faculty member with a propensity for revealing critical information that he previously “forgot” to mention when posing clinical ethics dilemmas to medical students.
After clumsily climbing over desks and chairs to put students on the spot, he places them in time out when they fail to answer to his satisfaction.
The show also featured performances from Feinberg’s Dance Interest Group and student acapella group, Docapella.
“This was the highlight of Docapella’s fall semester, it’s the performance we have been building towards,” said Elliot Famili-Youth, a second-year student in Feinberg’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), who led Docapella’s performance, which included an acapella rendition of “What About Us,” by P!NK. “I think it’s a great outlet for students at various points in their training to have the opportunity to get together with like-minded people and engage in this and it’s also really important for mental health.”
The evening raised more than $1,100 for Chicago Street Medicine, which has chapters at Feinberg and several other medical schools in Chicago.
Ilana Nazari, a second-year MSTP student and president of Feinberg’s Dance Interest Group, said the event was a great creative outlet for students.
“I think it’s super important to encourage people to have artistic interests outside of academics,” Nazari said. “I think it makes you a more relatable person and can help you interact with patients, and it’s a nice way to get our heart rate up and meet with people that we normally wouldn’t get to.”
This year’s In Vivo cast also included a dance number performed by members of Feinberg’s South Asian Medical Student Association (SAMoSA), which featured a blend of Bollywood, Bhangra, and classical styles.
“We wanted to bring this performance to In Vivo as a way for our community to bond over something that a lot of us enjoy doing, which is dancing,” said second-year medical student Riddhi Patel, who directed SAMoSA’s performance. “In Vivo is a great community event within Feinberg and it allows us to all laugh together and meet outside of class to do things that are not academically related. It’s a good bonding experience and brings our community closer together.”