Between midterms, club obligations and problem sets, college can seem like one dull commitment after another, aimlessly lasting until somebody slaps a liberal arts degree in your hand and tells you to find a new commitment — hopefully one that pays.

A Night of Laughs: An Evening of Comedic One Acts

October 17 – 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.
October 18 – 7 p.m.

Walgreens Drama Center
Free


But, as a group of young actors will tell you, that doesn’t always have to be the case. This Friday and Saturday, Basement Arts puts up its first show of the school year: “A Night of Laughs: An Evening of Comedic One Acts” after just two weeks of rehearsals.

The thirty-minute show is a compilation of three 8 to 10 minute short scenes from Anton Chekhov’s “The Dangers of Tobacco,” Shel Silverstein’s “The Best Daddy” and Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

And yet, the show isn’t just a straightforward take on scenes that acting majors have had memorized since ninth grade.

In Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, director and senior Acting major Josh Aber throws a mysterious wrench into traditional interpretations of the classic balcony scene.

“It’s a little bit of a farce … and out there,” Aber said.

Tragically, Aber declined to reveal more, forcing us to flip open our Dover Thrift copies of “Romeo and Juliet” and imagine what might be.

But the “Night of Laughs” won’t be all giggles, twists and the dismantlement of classic works. Where one might expect slapstick, Chekhov and Silverstein deliver drama – sweet refreshing drama.

“Chekhov is all very dark … The Chekhov one is very sad,” Aber said. “I don’t even know if people are going to be laughing at the end … And the Best Daddy one; that’s really really dark. That’s black comedy.”

It may seem to the casual (or even avid) theater-goer that these scenes don’t have much in common, but Aber insists that’s what makes the comedy so poignant.

“I kind of thought, well if I’m doing contemporary and Chekhov, I kind of want to throw in a Shakespeare so that it can follow an arc,” he said. “So it’s gonna be Shakespeare, Chekhov, contemporary. Three different comedic styles. Three different time periods.”

Though the scenes are drastically different from one another, they’re also linked by the mysterious “common denominator.” Once again, Aber chose to build suspense rather than be any more specific. One can only wonder what he means by the “common denominator.”

Whatever his twists are though, Aber, a first-time director, will have to spin them quickly. In the past few semesters, Basement Arts shows were usually given three weeks for rehearsals. As the year’s first production though, Aber and his cast only have two weeks to block, memorize, rehearse and perfect the show before opening night on Friday. Aber expected as much though.

“I actually asked (Basement Arts) if I could hold auditions before they had confirmed my slot…I’m actually only having two weeks to rehearse this because my first week I had to use up for audition time,” he said.

Aber said the show isn’t just for theater students either. Anyone just looking for some free entertainment late on a Friday night can pop in at 11 p.m. and leave smiling at 11:40.

“I’m excited for watching the show with an audience and hearing people laugh who’ve never watched it before … Hopefully, I’ll hear some laughs and I’ll know I did a good job.”

The scenes run at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday. All Basement Arts shows go up in the Walgreen Drama Center and are completely, unbendingly free. No doubt, “A Night of Laughs” will be worth much more than the price of admission.

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