The Varsity Show’s West End Preview
Written by Bwog Staff
Last night, the cast and crew of the 114th Annual Varsity Show performed two half-hour previews. Deep in the nether regions of the “dive bar” formerly known as the West End, students and parents, as per tradition, filed into seats and booths around in the open space and piano in the back.
The preview was narrated by Judith Shapiro, played charismatically by Lauren Glover, BC ‘09. The plot was loosely based around the idea that this was
J.Shap’s “last fireside chat” before Debora Spar, her newly-named replacement, takes over. D.Spar has some “large Birkenstocks to fill,” according to the ridiculously self-aggrandizing J.Shap.
The show shifted from the President’s office in Milbank to the BC Dance Department. Four girls in I <3 BC shirts cracked mostly stale jokes about anorexia and bulimia—Barnard babysitters expressing jealously that their kids weren’t hungry and kept throwing up. The dance class, cleverly titled “Dancing for Change and Changing for Dance,” was one of the best scenes in the preview, due in large part to the perfect casting of Laura Kleinbaum, CC ’08, as theoried-out (post)modern dance instructor Anette Schneider who believes that Hitler’s minions “were dancing” when they marched for Nazism.
Obviously infatuated with Schneider, the four dancers (most of who are adept physical comedians) blindly and vigorously followed Schneider’s instructions to dance “truth”, “transitional justice”, and “modernism… no! post modernism.”
In the corner of the dance classroom, Sarah Dooley, BC ’11, played a girl (who we’re led to believe is in the College) as Michael Snyder, CC ’10 played a Swarthmore transfer named Dan. Dan was an obvious Morningside neophyte: He doesn’t think he’s allowed “up there” (referring to Pisticci), he (gasp!) ate at Pertutti, he’s not sure where LaSalle is. “It’s the number between 123 and 125,” the girl of nebulous school affiliation explained. This line was very well received, unlike many of the standard-fare Barnard jokes that followed as J.Shap ended the scene.
Back in Dan’s room, we meet his fratty, misogynistic SEAS roommate (Tobin Mitnick, CC ‘10.) We quickly learn that the SEAS student has been having women troubles, an unfortunate circumstance not helped by the fact that he has a restraining order from Barnard College. Apparently, there was an incident involving “Jeffery Hunter Northrop, prescription pain pills, and Hewitt.” It was funny for the taboo of actually naming Columbia’s most lecherous Lothario, but could have been improved by adding specifics: Did JHN2 put date-rape drugs in Hewitt food? The audience, unfortunately, may never know.
Snider’s McShane was unquestionably the high-point of the scene, and perhaps garnered the largest laughs of the night. His re-enactment of Medea and his warning to J.Shap to “don’t let the door rape [her] on the way out,” were brilliant in an oddball, un-P.C. sort of way, but McShane’s relative anonymity might hinder the success of the jokes. McShane, like Kieron Cindric’s wonderful Republican journalist, were undoubtedly the most interesting and creatively conceived characters of the show.