Standing for the Show: ONS Returns

 

 

Elsie Denton

It may have been the provoking tagline “Growing up, leaving home, and getting the hell out of utero.” It may have been the smell of greasy pizza wafting out onto the streets or it may have been the new semicircular arrangement of the stage. Whatever the cause, the basement of the Creative Arts House (CAH) was bursting at the seams for this year’s first round of One Night Stands (ONS).

Over 40 people crowded into the cramped basement on Friday, September 14, to enjoy an evening of goofy skits, slapstick comedy and good company. The room wasn’t quite prepared to handle that kind of turnout. People wound up sprawling on the floor or lining up against the back wall like sardines.

One Night Stands are not, as the name might suggest, about relationships and sexual exploits.

According to sophomore Sarah Tilley, co-chair of the Student Theater Activities Board, ONSs are a series of short skits acted and directed by Colgate students. There is also a twist.

“The actors and directors receive their plays on Thursday,” said Tilley. “Two hours before show time they begin rehearsing.”

The result is a string of spontaneous and original performances that seem neither premeditated nor contrived.

Admittedly, the actors haven’t had the time to memorize their lines so they are forced to carry their scripts onstage, which limits their movement and eye contact. This lack of polish can generally be overlooked in light of the resulting jovial and laidback atmosphere.

The atmosphere seems so relaxed that nearly anyone would feel comfortable standing up and taking a shot at acting, a phenomena that just happens to be one of the goals of ONS.

“One Night Stands are a good way for people who don’t act or who don’t have a lot of time to act to get involved,” said Tilley. “Over one half of the people in [Friday’s] skits aren’t doing anything else in theater this semester.”

The plot to flush out new talent seems to be working.

“My roommate and I are planning to sign up for one,” junior Susan Anderson said. “We are trying to convince a shy actress in our apartment to get involved.”

Friday night’s lineup was anything but serious. The evening consisted of five brief skits tied together by a common theme — humanloneliness and the various quests we undertake to relieve the pain — and lots of laughs.

The opening play was Romantic Comedy, directed by sophomore Avi Isreal and performed by seniors Andrew Burten and Liz Bubriski.

In Romantic Comedy, a longtime fan of a famous Broadway director shows up at his house. She wants his input on a new play she has written.

The pair’s awkward and unfortunate conversation was full of Freudian-like slips where the subconscious jumped out and proclaimed all of little idiosyncrasies and insecurities that are usually censored out.

The skit may have been entertaining, but much of its effect was dulled because the fan was supposed to have interrupted the director while he was in a state of nature, a concept that was difficult to get across because Burten was clearly wearing a towel. The scene might have been much more effective had the towel been forgone.

The second play of the night also suffered from an insufficient set. The play, Off The Rack, explored the psychological roots behind the human tendency to amass great stores of junk we don’t need.

The skit would have been hilarious if first year Emily Steiger was actually fat as the play kept referring to her as, or if her vast horde of clothes consisted of more than a smattering of random castoffs. Off The Rack was still an enjoyably piece.

The award for the best play of the night is a toss up between Argument, directed by Tilley and All About Al, directed by senor Tracy Hoole.

Audience member, first year Kevin Heylman said that he preferred All About Al.

“The acting was the most off the wall,” said Heylman. “It seemed the most spontaneous.”

Anderson said that she preferred Argument, which was written by the famous Monty Python.

“It was perfectly suited for the small stage and minimal props in the setting,” said Anderson. “Plus Monty Python is just funny as hell.”