WMCN profile: Tillman & Love

By Sophie Nikitas

It was a dark, gloomy day. Rain fell outside the tiny window of the dimly lit room, sending a chill down my spine. Then a strangled scream broke the air: “HELP!” it called, “HELP ME!”. The wind whistled loudly, drowning out the desperate cries, and then all was silent. The old man was found the next morning. Although authorities attributed his death to a heart attack, Eric Tillman and Bob Love suspected otherwise. “Wide eyed, dryness in throat, screaming, no signs of strangulation, but certainly signs of agitation,” Love observes, “I think we can conclude that this man died of fright.” And a ghost is their main suspect. Minutes before, when Oleh Zaychenko ‘12, and Elijah Chiland ‘12 had entered the radio station, they had only a vague idea of the story they were about to tell. After Elijah asked what the game plan would be, Oleh responded, “Ghosts. Definitely ghosts today.” And create a ghost story they did, replete with sound effects, many deaths, and even an improvised nursery rhyme. Oleh and Elijah’s love of comedy has driven their friendship since day one. They met when they joined Fresh Concepts in freshman year. Now, as seniors, they live together. Their on-stage chemistry is palpable and, for the last few semesters, their on-air chemistry has been just as good. In the past, they have teamed up to create both a “vintage sci-fi show”, and a two-person advice column. When asked how many people had sought their advice, Elijah admitted that “No one ever really asked us for advice, so we got to make it up a lot of the time.” Ready to try something new, the two friends sought to find a different theme for this semester. The duo thought of their current theme while brainstorming over winter break. “We knew we wanted something noir-like,” Oleh explained, “so I watched a lot of X-Files and Twilight Zone.” The noir influence, combined with the duo’s penchant for comedy, birthed the concept of their new show. In essence, “Tillman & Love” is an hour-long improv murder mystery. Oleh and Elijah play Eric Tillman and Bob Love, respectively, two hardened detectives trying to crack cases in gritty New York. They are sometimes accompanied by supporting characters, such as Joe “Sbarro” Rossitano, owner of the nearby Sbarro’s, and Katerina Sosnovich, an innocent woman who has been sucked into the world of the two detectives. The show also features new voices each week, such as this week’s star ghost, Count Brinsky. The two make great use of their talents to create a satirical, “noir-like” setting. The two use a range of husky voices, typical of noir film, to bring their characters to life. They also have a soundtrack to accompany their show, made of ominous music and various sound effects. Oleh wrote the music himself, but vehemently denied the use of Garageband. “I would like to say it was something fancier, like… BarageGand. You probably haven’t heard of it.” Behind the mics, the two hosts are visibly immersed in the stories that they create on the spot. Elijah sometimes performs entire conversations between two characters, shifting his posture as he changes roles. While narrating the exploration of a haunted house, the two mime holding flashlights, straining to see through the made-up dark. “What exactly is our plan of action, Love?” Oleh whispers to Elijah. “We honestly have no idea,” says Elijah, once a music break has taken over the air.