This year, we ignored our
haphazardly implemented tradition of making the outgoing EIC review the semi-annual Latenite comedy show, and instead we sent an under-qualified daily editor to check it out. Mason Amelotte thusly brings you his review of Latenite Theatre: Spring 2015 Anthology.
This year’s three night spring anthology showcased nine short plays that were written and directed by students, for students, as was realized after noticing the bemused expressions of the few parents scattered throughout the audience when a play featuring two “bros” revolved around understanding the term “Yaaasss.” This year’s anthology was a fairly cohesive show that, for the most part, depicted contemporary issues in a subversive, satirical manner. Latenite offered a unique collection of plays that varied in form, ranging from a musical-parody of Les Miserables titled “Les Miserweedless,” to a 90-second dinner party at “Madame Sequester’s” that completely obliterated the fourth wall, much to the audience’s pleasure.
The nine shows maintained a good (read: minimum) level of Columbia-centric content (after all, isn’t that what the Varsity Show is for?). The first and only play to take place in Butler, titled “Butler’s Eleven,” kicked off the show with an exaggerated depiction of what happens when someone in the reference room asks the age-old question “hey can you watch my stuff?” What proceeded to ensue was nothing short of an exciting Kubrick homage that can only be described as a whimsical, more kinky manifestation of the Inferno. Three Butler laptop vigilantes, two Sia dancers, one PrezBo face mask, and some hula hoops later, the audience was being showered in free condoms and lube, while our loyal Butler patron writhed on the floor, protecting her neighbor’s laptop. The short ended with an all too real one-liner: “This isn’t even a fucking Macbook.”
Performed later, “Sweet Dreams” added some much needed millennial humor to the anthology. Written by Eric Donahue, the skit took place at a viral content firm responsible for coming up with the clickbait articles that tend to litter Facebook. After all was said and done, two recent hires discover the source of all things viral on the internet: a comatose individual called “Ideastream” kept in the basement of the viral content firm under a white linen bed sheet. As someone who is enamored by the metaphysical concept of clickbait, this play had me on my knees.
Another standout play was “Sean & DeShawn,” which used exaggerated stereotyping to fairly accurately depict the issue of racial profiling by the police. The two main characters played bomb defusers who, as you can guess, were defusing a bomb. One thing leads to another, and before Sean and DeShawn know what’s happening, the police enter the building and extract the white guy, who they think is in danger. In a somewhat comical turn of events, the lights go out and the police lose sight of DeShawn, who manages to defuse the bomb and save Sean. Karen Joseph Adcock played a great DeShawn, triumphantly confronting instances of racism in America through her antagonized performance.
Other stellar performances came from Chloé Durkin and Ian Hewitt. Playing a joint-thirsty Éponine in “Les Miserweedless,” Durkin’s powerhouse voice brought tears to this Bwogger’s eyes as she belted her own rendition of “On My Own.” Likewise, Ian Hewitt’s adorable elementary school character, reminiscent of Tommy Pickles from Rugrats, was hard not to love during his spot-on portrayal of a 9-year-old plaintiff in “The Children’s Court.”
Altogether, the spring Latenite performances offered many examples of the different kinds of artistic talent we have hidden within the
humorous souls that reside here student body. From the writing and directing to the production, the performances were humorous, but even more importantly engaging and relevant. The few drops of dark humor and sprinkles of social satire provided audience members with a refreshing, once-in-a-semester way to spend their Saturday night before getting belligerent at Mel’s.
Photo courtesy of Latenite’s Facebook event