Photo by John Severson
Comedy is a hard thing to do and there is nothing more awkward than an audience of silence and uncomfortable shifting after an act that was supposed to be funny. This was not the case during the St. Paul Academy and Summit School Upper School One Acts on Jan. 31. The Sarah Converse Auditorium roared with and mimicked the energy and vibrancy of the casts.
The show consisted of four one acts, three student directed and one co-directed by Upper School Theater Director Eric Severson and senior Sophia Harrison.
Harrison and Severson directed the bold Alien vs. Cheerleaders one act. Written by Qui Nguyen, the story follows a group of cheerleaders at Saint Valley High School as they fight to protect their planet from an alien invasion. The costumes are bright, the soundtrack catchy (including classic hits such as Bad Reputation by Joan Jett), and the dance moves out of this world (high-kicks and cartwheels galore). The ambitious play touched on classic high school dynamics with a twist and left the audience both laughing and feeling connected to the impressionable characters.
A main feature of Aliens vs. Cheerleaders where the theatrical fight scenes between the sassy yet surprisingly tough cheerleaders and no-nonsense aliens. The stage fighting was one of the most memorable aspects of the performance, but also one of the most difficult for the cast to perfect “making the fight scenes believable [was] the biggest challenge,” junior Maggie Vlietstra who played the bold character “Molly” said.
The other student directed one acts were, for the first time in SPA history, all directed by senior women. The 9 Worst Breakups of All Time, written by Ian McWethy, follows a comical series of unfortunate breakup scenes finishing with one of the main characters being “musically broken up with”. It was directed by seniors Mansuda Arora and Olivia Fitch. The performance was simply funny; one outstandingly hilarious scene depicted a civil war soldier and his fiancé working through their awkward relationship via a series of letters and ultimately failing miserably.
Check Please by Jonathan Rand and directed by seniors Sonja Mischke and Dani Tiedemann had a similar theme of awkward romantic encounters. It jumps between scenes of first dates gone wrong with issues ranging from kleptomaniac tendencies to inappropriate dinner apparel (a burlap sack!).
Seniors Mattie Daub and Maggie Clark strove for the motif of relationships but still delivered a comical appearance in Jimmy the Antichrist In which Jimmy returns with his friend Colin from college and reveals to his family that he is actually the Antichrist in human form. The ludicrous play written by Keith Powell deals with how Jimmy’s family deals with the news and learns how to accept his new lifestyle.
The performances knit together to create a night of laughter that truly celebrated comedy in its purest form. Which is after all, an auditorium laughing contently as the audience takes a final bow.