Late Nite was last night, and it’s also this night! Peter Sterne thinks you should go, and describes his experience below…
The first play, directed by Steele Sternberg, begins with action movie music swelling as the suave Agent 7, played by the even suaver James Rodrigues attempts to…well, it isn’t really clear, but suffice to say he is captured by ninja henchmen sent by an unnamed Villain, played by a German accented Dennis V. Perepelitsa. Perepelitsa’s performance effortessly reveals the insecurity that underlies his character’s arrogance, leading to great laughs from the crowd. Taylor Owens’ performance as dissatisfied (and eponymous) henchman Ted, on the other hand, channels a righteous outrage that is a bit too raw to be laugh-out-loud hilarious.
“We do have a lot of awkward moments, don’t we?” asks Jordan, the well-meaning hostage-taker played by Sam Johnson in Charlie Gillette’s “Not Really a Pizza Party.” Written by Zack Sheppard, the play depicts the often awkward relationship between Jordan and his hostage Will, a victim of circumstance by Lorenzo Landini. Johnson fully inhabits his character, who appears less dangerous or cruel than simply misguided. He has great chemistry with Landini, who gradually warms to Johnson’s friendly overtures, though this may simply be due to Stockholm Syndrome. The skit drags on a bit, but is abruptly ended with the surprise appearance of Matt Yeaton’s character.
Written by Augusto Corvolan and directed by Jessie Cohen, “The Ritual” answers an important question: what do you do if your superintendent is a Satanist? Zack Sheppard plays an unnamed apartment resident who discovers that his superintendent and some other residents are performing a blood sacrifice in his attic. Alex Katz has a memorably quirky performance as Dave, the superintendent who wants to be faithful to the spirit of the sacrifice without violating any apartment rules, and Michael Abraham and Shelby Swartz, as fellow Satanists, each have some great lines, but the focus is clearly on the relationship between Sheppard’s character and Tara Pacheco’s Sandy, a cute virgin (emphasis on the virgin) sacrifice who started experimenting with Satanism in college.
“Popcorn and Circumstance” deals with a different kind of experimentation, as two female best friends confront their feelings for one another. Directed by Jacob Rice and written by Dan Aprahamian, the piece is obviously a comedy, but a quick emotional build-up and sharp reversal near the beginning of the play establishes a dynamic tension between the two characters that never really leaves, and provides emotional stakes that Sheppard and Lamontagne uphold with their realistic performances. This play is unlike any other in LateNite, resembling more closely the skits in
last Fall’s February’s Egg and Peacock Festival.
Directed by Rachel Sheppard and written by Erin Flynn, “Um…Birth Control?” starts as a parody of a birth control commercial. When Lacy, played by Mary Kaye Duff, complains about having to take the pill every day, her friend Stacy, played by Yisa Fermin, tells her all about the new birth control medication. Fermin expertly apes the cadence and attitude of a spokeswoman as she tells Duff about the new medication, and most of the humor in the skit comes from the ridiculous list of side effects of the medication. But once Dr. Stevens, played by Matt Yeaton, enters the scene, the skit turns into an absurd satirical commentary on gender identities and feminism.
The last (and longest) performance, written by S. Maxwell and H. Levick, with music written and directed by B. Kwellod, is a historically inaccurate musical that told the life of Fidel Castro, obviously intended as a parody of the critically acclaimed Broadway musical “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson.” It is even titled “Sangriento [Bloody] Fidel Castro.” David Abud, as the lead, fills the stage during the musical numbers and speaks in a great faux-Cuban accent when acting. The musical is something of a buddy flick, with Will Cybriwsky’s Che Guevara acting as Castro’s best friend. The highlight of the performance has to be the songs, from “Communism, Yeah, Yeah” to “Ten Little Communists.” These scenes benefit greatly from a backing rock band and tons of dancing extras expertly choreographed by Shira Albagli. (Fake) celebrity cameos complete the total package, giving the skit the feel of a real musical.
The LateNite Spring 2011 anthology will be performed again tonight at 11 p.m. and tomorrow night at
8 p.m. and 11 p.m. in the Austin E. Quigley Blackbox Theater on Lerner 5. Free tickets are available from the TIC. If you’re free, you should definitely check it out!
All images courtesy of LateNite.