One Night Stands: Student Theater with No Strings Attached

One Night Stands: Student Theater with No Strings Attached

Lizzy Corn

With a combination of a relaxed atmosphere and various performances, One Night Stands Tails Your Gate was not just a show, but a social scene as well. The venue had to be moved to the ground floor of Creative Arts House due to flooding in the basement over the summer. Seating consisted of couches, pillows and blankets that were dispersed on the floor underneath multi-colored lights. Due to the lack of a formal stage, the actors performed in front of a large stone fireplace. The majority of the audience arrived very early to just sit, sip on drinks and chat with friends.

The performances were shuffled so that the themes remained unpredictable and fresh with each act, and although the actors had only received the scripts a few hours earlier that day, they delivered their lines seamlessly, albeit while holding their scripts. The minimal costumes did not take away from the performances, but rather added to the charm of the event and drew more attention towards the acting itself.

The act that seemed to garner the largest response from the audience was titled “Phyllis and Xenobia.” In this dark comedy written by Christopher Durang, two serious young women portrayed by first-year Tessa Drake and junior Jen Leen, chat over what could be afternoon tea. After politely arguing about who could take the credit for killing their cookie-obsessed mother (Xenobia or their brother), the girls go on to reminisce about the other foods from their childhood. Phyllis (Drake) recalls the dish Egg Meringues that she used to eat and thinks fondly of it as she flatly delivers the line, “they were light and fluffy, filled with eggy goodness, it was like eating an angel’s head.” This skit was especially impressive because of the powerful dark humor embedded in the writing and the composure of the actresses despite the boisterous audience.

Another enjoyable skit entitled “Our Lady of 121st Street,” was split so that it opened and ended the night. The scene took place in a confessional where senior Kyle Levenick and first year Anat Fintzi played a white wannabe “gangsta” sinner and a priest, respectively. The scene begins with Rooftop (played by Levenick) saying, “forgive me Father for I have sinned….a lot, know what I’m sayin’?” The conversation is not typical of those usually conducted in a confessional, as Rooftop proceeds to ramble about anything and everything unrelated to confessions. The scene is cut with the line, “say Father, I can’t smoke in here, right?” and is picked up again at the end of the night with, “So anyway, Father, 497 sexual interludes. 497 I can think of…” The dual placement of this skit was a nice touch, as the skit both started and ended the night on high notes.

One Night Stands is an informal tribute to good writing and the joy of acting. Because there is no audition process it is a great place for aspiring actors to exercise their skills and show their talent without having to worry about the possibility of rejection. The audience is very receptive to any type of writing and any level of acting, although this could in part be due to the aforementioned drinking. Overall, the experience was enjoyable for both audience members and actors and it provided a fun start to Homecoming Weekend. Keep your eyes open for information about upcoming performances.