“A Sigh of Relief”: Bwog Reviews Latenite Fall 2017 Anthology
Written by Aliya Schneider
Bwogger Aliya Schneider pulled double duty this weekend and also reviewed and photographed Latenite’s Fall Anthology. It’s basically seven plays in one, so get your septuple dose of theatre below!
I was originally planning on going to the Latenite Fall 2017 Anthology 11 pm show, but it was highly recommended that I go to the 8 pm show instead. This was my first time actually seeing Latenite, and from what I had heard, I had expected it to be a confusing mess of people running around holding random objects. I was impressively engaged the whole time, and it all (mostly) made sense. (Not sure what that’s saying about me.) I actually almost came back for the 11 pm prank show, but after begging friends who decided it would be more fun for the actors than the audience, I stayed at West End eating french fries. I actually regret not coming back for the 11 pm show.
If you get anything from this review, it’s that the actors in Latenite had it together. I honestly thought that people who did Latenite didn’t take it seriously. Whether this is the case or not, they sure seemed to. How all the actors consistently stayed in character despite their ridiculous roles? I’m not sure. Maybe they’re just ridiculous people. I dig it.
My friend Benjy Sachs who copped a “Reserved for Bwog” seat next to me described the show as an “hour-long theatrical debacle fest [that was] entertaining and delightfully uncanny.” Honestly, the whole show was a sigh of relief that Columbia students know how to have fun and just let go. The Anthology was broken into seven pieces. Here’s what you missed:
The Mencil started the show off with classic jocks making fun of a classic nerd. The nerd ended up being introduced to the “mencil” (male pencil?), which seemingly made him cool. The piece involved various men expressing their joy about the mencil. In reaction to her husband’s excitement about the mencil, a pregnant wife (played by Ellie Kalman) held her baby and told him that she wanted a divorce. He turned back at the audience and gave an enthusiastic and hilarious thumbs up. The show’s start full of drawings of hairy dicks and the stereotypical nerd-jock dynamic was funny, but a little cliche. (I don’t think it would have been funny if it wasn’t cliche though.) The dick drawings have gotten a little old, and when the actors started doing what looked like an interpretive dance with their mencils. If the actors broke character, this could have looked like a borderline offensive fuck-boy shit-show, but they didn’t, so I was entertained. The piece ended with a joke about overcompensating. I think it could have ended on a more creative note, but the audience was in laughter, and that’s what matters.
Never Have I Ever was more contained and relatable (for me). Three stereotypical party-obsessed teens played the drinking-game version of Never Have I Ever with Eric, who, to them, was socially inept. Eric, played by Dylan Dameron, was one of my favorite characters of the show and reminded me of every SEAS boy I’ve met. Eric didn’t quite understand how to play Never Have I Ever, but once it was explained to him that it is “Usually sexual… always sexual.”, he used obscure examples like fingering a puppy or eating out his grandma as his grandfather watched in agony. When the other characters criticized his examples, telling him to use things that they would have actually done, Eric said that he just doesn’t know the other characters that well. I lost it. His last example was weirdly specific and potentially along the lines of “Never have I️ ever gotten so turned on watching The People v. O.J. that I️ jerked off with a leather glove afterwards.” It was weird, and Mark, played by Sam Kodama, slowly lifted his drink. This piece’s simplicity and focus made it easy to follow, and the “Oh my fuck” jargon was hilarious.
Corporations Are More Human Than You was about a family that has a middle-school-aged son named Junior, whose dad calls him “sport,” who has agreed to the scout’s honor, and says things like “ah fiddlesticks”. The son, played by Gus O’Connor, was caught drinking Coke. When his parents freaked out at him, I expected it to be over the fact that he was consuming soda. But no, it was because they are a Pepsi family. This was hilarious. His dad, “Pop,” played by Cole Dunbar, yelled “You don’t want to be a lazy socialist do you?”
Francisco Alvidrez’s role was an embodiment of “Corporation.” He worked a pair of heels and business suit while going on about the horrors of liking two brands at once, which is like “fucking two people at the same time,” This piece made fun of capitalism in America, with dramatic Alvidrez saying “Corporations, we give a shit!”
This piece was a little all-over-the-place, but the simple props (see Pepsi can and Lays bag in the photo gallery) and exaggerated characters kept the audience engaged.
<3 The Gang <3 had hearts as part of the title. I’m not sure if I loved it enough to put hearts next to the title myself, but I know that it grew on me every time I thought it was going to end and it just kept dragging on (in a good you’re not getting rid of us way). This piece was set as a MTV-esque reality show about middle schoolers. “Queen Bee Genevieve” (played by Alex Saltiel), “Second din Command Denise” (played by Julia Dooley), “Lana the Rebel” (played by Jet Dotnet), and “Kimberly Who’s Internet Famous” (played by Nell Bailey), were all dramatic tweens just wanting to live their lives. They each had all-too-extra personalities that were hard to follow but equally entertaining. One of the tweens was angry at butter, and she, along with the other supporting characters, ended up dying. Queen Bee, who first said that funerals are better than Bat Mitzvah Season, ended up lonely and sad because she had no one to talk to. A slide show in the background showed the characters posing in different places on campus. This photo shoot made me so happy, and also made me appreciate that extra work that went into this piece. The actors were so strikingly in character, and their costumes were perfect.
Postrufwurl‘s whole script is in the production notes in the program in one long paragraph. The first line is “do u kno wat”, the second line is “Wat”, and the last line is “I wan to die.” This piece was about a “post truth” world. It seemed to consist of two people fried by technology who can’t trust anyone or anything anymore because of how the media has harmed us. If it made sense or not, it was funny. I expected it to drag on after the lights went out like <3 The Gang <3 did, but it just ended. I wasn’t too upset about that though.
DTR at the OBGYN was great. Amanda (played by Fiola Goudy) had an appointment with the gynecologist (played by Lawrence Chillrun). After telling Dr. Williams that she was “banging on the regs”, but only in a hot tub, with Craig (played by Dylan Dameron). In response to the doctor’s questions, Amanda felt a pressure to define her relationship, so she brought Craig into the office. The two characters hilariously dissected what they are and what they could and should be. Their ambiguous relationship and overanalyzation of it was eerily accurate to the struggling of DTR on campus. They made very specific guidelines, like only posting pictures together on Instagram with an ironic caption like hanging out with a stranger (not on Facebook, because Dylan deleted his Facebook for dietary reasons). They are, however, going to add each other on LinkedIn ironically, of course. Although the gynecologist did not care how their relationship was defined, the couple took out their bottled rage on the him and told him to stop trying to put them in a box. The piece ended with him telling them that Amanda is pregnant. Oh, and there was a nurse (played by Matt Malone), made an appearance, and the crowd went wild.
No Chaser is the easiest piece to describe. Patron, played by Henrietta Steventon, didn’t use a chaser with her hard alcohol. Her fellow partiers were in shock. The lights went rogue. The rest of the actors dramatically danced around her. I loved how in sync the actors were. They performed a beautiful and upbeat portrayal of the point in a party where you are convinced you are on the same celebratory wavelength as everyone in the room. It conveyed the celebration and support from peers that not using a chaser can bring. The actors were so into it, this piece could have been in the Orchesis show.
The show ended with a dance party where they encouraged audience members to join them onstage. I wonder what my review would have looked like if I went to the 11pm (“Drunk/Prank”) show.
The Black Box Theatre was the perfect location for the show. The actors engaged with the audience, not too much, but enough. They made me laugh out loud. None of the actors visibly broke character. Their energy and sense of humor was contagious. I literally gasped during the Corporation piece when Dr.Pepper was brought up, not because I actually care, but because the proximity with the actors and their strong personas made me feel like a character in the scene as well.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the anthology. To be fair, I had pretty low expectations, because the one video I have seen of Late Nite was of someone sacrificing a pig(?) on stage in Roone. I was expecting a total obscure confused mess, and got some funny SNL-type sketches.