Latenite rarely fails to deliver a raunchy, relevant, expletive-filled wham-bam of a show, and this fall’s anthology was perhaps the best in four years. I’ve always been a fan of Latenite, and so I decided this time to get the full Latenite experience: drunk to the Friday show, and (kinda. I mean, “sobriety” is such a social construct) sober to the Saturday “prank” show. Although I am guilty of juicing with theatric performance enhancers, I can objectively say that anyone who made the mistake of giving up their tickets (I got in off the wait list two days in a row) is a loser who shouldn’t be trusted to make important life decisions.
The brilliance in Latenite results from its intimacy. It’s not only a convenient coincidence that campus’s prevailing dialog for the past few weeks has interrogated issues surrounding dating, love, and what it means to intimate with a fellow Columbian. In the best skit in four years of Latenite, “You’re My Only Hope” by Elizabeth Logan and directed by Lena Rogow, CC ’14, and Emily Snedeker, CC ’16, Chris Evans, CC ’15, commands the stage as the embodiment of male anxiety in an encounter with a potential fuck. The scene was one DFW reference and one coconut water bottle away from full on satire of the email read ’round the ‘Heights. Evans’s impassioned performance elated the audience with an absurdist fervor, but challenged us to confront all-too-familiar thoughts desperately attempting to manage a head full of boiling emotions. In that situation, perhaps a wookie call is an appropriate response to a first kiss.
Saturday evening’s performance of “Red Flag,” a skit that plays with the apparent thoughtlessness informing the flag-coloring decision-making on South Field, lured the audience into such a froth that it seemed to take on a kind of verbally one-sided, emotive conversation. Curses in the name of shredded butt holes and salty surprises were met with roars of laughter and cat calls begging for more, and twice during the “prank” show scenes were dramatically cut off by actors who felt that the skit had gone far enough. Matt Martinez, CC ’13, so dominated the Jerry Springer-like ruckus that it almost seemed undignified for the comedic god of that moment to timidly shuffle off-stage, table in hand, during the following set change.
There is much to say about the rest of the surprisingly strong lineup: “I Contain Multitudes,” with Mary Kaye Duff, CC ’13, featured the first on-stage ejaculation I’ve ever witnessed; “BROB-GYN,” by Alex Katz, CC ’14, and Steele Sternberg, CC ’13, delightfully paired staple frat-bashing with a queer twist; “The Naming of Things,” by Matt Minnicino, CC ’13, took on an ambitious topic, and it’s clear that whoever planned the set list wanted to end on a contemplative (if not entirely serious) note, but the piece ran a bit long.
But I don’t want to traditionally review the show, and that’s because 1) I don’t think it’s possible to produce any substantial, valid criticisms of short bits of comedy, and 2) my notes are entirely incoherent.
Instead, let me use this space to strongly encourage every single person on campus to go see Latenite’s spring anthology. In fact, go multiple times. See it sober, and then see it drunk; each show changes in a self-referential, thematic whirlpool that makes the additional viewing akin to Season 2 of Community. This should be the hottest ticket on campus, and is good enough to draw attention from theatre enthusiasts outside of the Columbia-sphere. The V-Show would be wise to spend half of the time they normally spend writing a generic love story learning from Latenite’s outrageously absurdist style. If the next anthology is half as good as the fall’s, then we’re in for another weekend full of big laughs and wincing grins.
semi-relevant photo via Shutterstock