Bob twisted my arm to get me to write a review on a Film Club and Drama Club joint showing this weekend. “Just 500 words,” he said.
When have I ever obeyed a word count without cramping my message? That damned thing came out to be nearly 800 words when I finished.
And so I present, completely unedited by third parties for grammar and content (which is unbalanced between the clubs’ events), a review of “An Evening of One Acts”. Because what’s a blog if not an archive for mindless ramblings?
This is the second time one of my editors has twisted my arm into writing a review due to my unique perspective. The first time was my non-Judeo-Christian status and spiritual distance from the events of The Passion. This time it’s because I have absolutely nothing to do with either the Film Club or the Drama Club. Such a person is rare on the Thorn staff.
The “evening” that I attended lasted an hour and a half, and consisted of several short films, “commercials”, and a music video from the Film Club, and four David Ives one-act plays put on by the Drama Club. Overall, the “evening” was full of laughter, albeit with the occasional squint in confusion or groan of light dismay.
Unfortunately, the most glaringly obvious aspects of the films shown were the technical difficulties. Most of the films suffered from some mixture of low resolution, poor color balance, brightness problems, or sound problems that distracted the viewer from the potential humor, depth, and wittiness of the plots. Although I’ve been told many of these were the result of the settings of the projection equipment and that the digital versions being sold are of much better quality, the fact remains that the showing left much to be desired on a technical front.
The contents of the Film Club’s work, however, were riveting. Most were comedic, gaining guffaws and giggles from the audience, including a “commercial” mocking the SGA Exchange’s claim to be a forum to sell anything and a “Got Milk?” spoof highlighting the fun of igniting and inhaling the fumes from cannabis leaves. One was hyper-condensed angst with surprisingly good acting and a wonderful score despite the “let us fret over the ex” theme. There was an animated music video by this paper’s Entertainment Editor to the tune of Daft Punk that certainly held me in rapture as deformed stick figures that could well have been caricatures of the caricatures in Tool videos gyrated and flagellated one another.
The Film Club’s big release, the four-part “Eric and Sharon” suffered from, arguably, the worst technical problems of any of the films, with an entire part being practically a dark blue blur smeared with the paleness of the two main characters’ faces as the Film Club experimented with night-time filming. Most glaring in the first two portions were the script problems; the script seemed awkward and the jokes randomly inserted with very little bearing on the conversation at hand. The actors are to be commended for giving the lines in a style that made them seem much less awkward than the words suggested they should have been. The script improved in the third and fourth portions of the film, but was never stellar, as though the writer had failed to watch the interactions of platonic friends around him before composing the script.
Providing cleaner-cut fun and laughter were the Drama Club’s one-acts. Although I’m not well-read as to David Ives’s plays, a recurring theme was obviously the nigh-infinite possibilities emerging from a single choice, no matter how small, such as a difference in greeting, in interests, and in translation.
The acting in all of the plays was superb, with no seriously over-the-top acting. The parts were all well-cast, with appropriately sarcastic, haughty, or chirpy actors where needed. The simple sets of the plays drew the eye directly to the action; the acting and wonderful dialogue kept it there.
“Sure Thing” was simply hilarious, with a handsomely awkward and charmingly cheesy male lead providing much comedic value as the possibilities of his interaction with a Faulkner-reading female lead were explored.
“The Philadelphia” was slightly less immediately funny, and was probably the only play to suffer from any detrimental over-acting, although this was slight.
“Arabian Nights”, quite honestly, had me in stitches. The interpreter, although occasionally too high pitched to be clearly heard in the audience, was superbly funny and stole the show. Unfortunately, any depth to the plot was lost among my giggles, and the two characters that were being “translated” seemed to fade into the background, merely murmuring would-be lovers’ platitudes.
“English Made Simple” was another that had me enraptured and had the entire audience holding their sides. The “loudspeaker” was the perfect mix of deadpan humor and sarcasm to showcase the lesson being made without detracting from the equally wonderful dialogue of the Jack and Jill, who were played skillfully on their own.
All in all, the “evening” was wonderful, leaving me full of laughter, full of thoughts about possibilities, and increasingly aware of the artistic abilities of my fellow students.