From the cheeky to the endearing to the irreverently endearing, the newest anthology from Latenite Theatre serves up humor to satisfy a wide range of comedic tastes.
Latenite produces original works submitted by Columbia students. Once a semester, the best submissions are selected and compiled into an hour-long theatrical experience. This semester’s selection of plays, which run this week, range in topic from a young woman’s disconcerting experience with a bro-turned-gynecologist, to a troupe of Elizabethan actors realizing the absurdity of Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus,” to Adam and Eve’s first time.
In Alex Katz’s, CC ’14, and Steele Sternberg’s, CC ’13, “BROB-GYN,” a young woman named Rachel (played by Rachel Sheppard, CC ’13) pursues affordable birth control by making an appointment with a gynecologist named Brody (Matt Yeaton, CC ’13), a man who seems like he’d be more at home playing beer pong than giving pelvic exams. Directed by Marielle Coutrix, BC ’14, and David Silberthau, CC ’15, the play has some clever elements—Brody’s side table contains Jell-O shots and beer bottles instead of medical equipment, and his nurses are former frat boys. However, the writing edges toward being trite—in one scene, Rachel asks why the skeleton on the office’s wall doesn’t have a boner.
On the other spectrum of college stereotypes falls “Star Wars” nerd Randy (Josh Cohen, SEAS ’16) in “You’re My Only Hope,” who finds romance with Lyla (Rebecca Farley, CC ’16), a girl who wanders into his room in search of his roommate. Written by Elizabeth Logan, CC ’14, the play is “adorkably” charming under the direction of Lena Rogow, CC ’14, and Emily Snedeker, CC ’16. In an interesting twist, Cohen does not talk much throughout the performance—the audience learns his thoughts largely from another actor (Chris Evans, CC ’15) who serves to embody Randy’s subconscious mind. Cohen’s body movements are perfectly synced to Evans’ ramblings, without becoming disjointed.
The show continues on a comedic note in Katz’ and Tara Pacheco’s, CC ’13, “The Eagle Suffers.” Directed by Hannah Ceja, BC ’14, and Becca Meyer, CC ’15, the play examines the absurdity of Shakespeare and opens with the Bard (Taha Wiheba, CC ’16) writing furiously, moving a quill across paper in an amusingly manic Rowan Atkinson-esque manner as classical music plays in the background. It turns out that the work being written is none other than “Titus Andronicus,” and hilarity ensues as Shakespeare hands the manuscript over to rival playwright Marlowe (Charlie Gillette, BC ’13) to produce. The actors in Marlowe’s troupe complain, to uproarious effect, that the characters they play in “Titus” are seriously f-ed up.
The night takes a serious turn in “The Naming of Things,” written by Matt Minnicino, SoA, and directed by Christina McCarver, BC ’13, which depicts a first time of biblical proportions. Stephan Adamów, CC ’15, is the stubborn, ego-centric Adam to Emilia Lirman’s, CC ’16, headstrong, inquisitive Eve. After having their first sexual encounter, Adam and Eve bicker over what they should call what they experienced. The result is a tender, nuanced reflection on the nature of love and gender relations. Minnicino’s script nicely captures the heady confusion that attraction can cause.
Additional selections in the anthology include “I Contain Multitudes,” a reading inspired by “Star Wars,” and “Air Bud’s Last Game” and "Red Flag," both by Trevor Cohen, CC ’13 and Spectator’s director of sales and monetization, and Jim Pagels, CC ’13 and former Spectator sports editor. “Last Game” is a dark take on the sports-playing-animal subgenre, directed by Yeaton and Korinne DeCesario, BC ’15, while “The Red Flag” is a satirical look at the Ultimate Frisbee craze and University bureaucracy, directed by Pagels.
Performances are Dec. 6 through 8 at 11 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. in the Lerner Black Box. Admission is free and tickets can be reserved online.
Correction: An earlier version of this article had several class years listed incorrectly. They have been corrected. An earlier version also stated that Josh Cohen does not speak in the play, though he has several lines. Spectator regrets the error.