Again with a “BONK!” and a “POW!,” solid and crew of “Gaieties: The Adventures of Contemporary Man and Tremendous Senior” delivered a rousing opening efficiency on Wednesday. In true Stanford spirit, the corporate outdid itself with area of interest Stanford jokes, over-the-top bodily comedy and simply the correct amount of theatrical aptitude.
A Stanford custom from as early because the Nineteen Twenties, “Gaieties” is a totally student-run musical comedy centered across the Stanford-Berkeley rivalry carried out for 3 nights main as much as Huge Recreation.
On this yr’s play, directed by Jaden Southern ’25, protagonist Peter, higher identified by his superhero alter-ego Contemporary-Man (Ryder Thompson ’27), joins forces with Tremendous-Senior (Mandla Msipa ’26) to save lots of Stanford from the chaos that has arisen after former Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne resigned. Berkeley spy Callie McBerkeley (Susanna Newsom ’26) has been inaugurated as the brand new president, and whereas most college students settle for the brand new authority, the 2 heroes are skeptical of McBerkeley’s intentions.
Contemporary-Man and Tremendous-Senior recruit the hopeless romantic legacy pupil Dollie (Charlotte Kearns ’27) and the pragmatic, sassy Contemporary-Lady (Wolf Baker ’27) to assist them on their mission. Collectively, they uncover McBerkeley’s secret plot to take over Stanford and orchestrate Berkeley’s Huge Recreation victory. Alongside the way in which, the heroes are met with resistance from Sam Bankman 3 (Joshua Delgadillo ’26), Lizardbeth Holmes (Ulaina Ahn ’26) and Currymeleon (George Porteous ’27), just a few of McBerkeley’s minions.
McBerkeley’s posse parodied three controversial Stanford-affiliated figures that had been just lately within the information: Sam Bankman-Fried, Elizabeth Holmes and William Curry. This intelligent creative alternative by the playwrights (Brandon Rupp ’25, Nathan Bhak ’23 M.S. ’24, Helena Vasconcelos ’24 and Skye Lyles ’25) reveals that Stanford college students are in a position to poke enjoyable on the College’s historical past and controversies.
Racing in opposition to time to save lots of Stanford from the clutches of McBerkeley, Tremendous-Senior and his crew stroll into a celebration hosted at fraternity Kappa Sigma, when college students protesting the fraternity escape right into a saucy rendition of “Cell Block Tango” from the musical “Chicago” and later encounter a gaggle of writers from the fictional Every day Bugle — a parody of our very personal Stanford Every day — tied up by McBerkeley’s minions.
The Every day Bugle appeared a number of occasions within the efficiency and was even featured in one of many opening numbers. These scenes made enjoyable of The Every day’s at-times intense workload, amongst different tropes about journalism. As a author for The Every day myself, I tremendously loved and associated to those comical moments.
Laptop science lecturers additionally made visitor appearances throughout every of the reveals in a lecture skit that featured Nick Parlante on Wednesday and Thursday, and Nick Troccoli ’18 M.S. ’18 in addition to Julie Zelenski on Friday. Throughout Wednesday’s efficiency, Parlante bowed all the way down to the well-known CS106A “Bit” robotic as if praying to a deity, eliciting uproarious laughter from the viewers.
Among the many pupil solid, Newsom had unimaginable stage presence as McBerkeley. She commanded the stage together with her highly effective voice and hit spectacular excessive notes whereas kicklining. Kearns additionally delighted the viewers together with her infectious power, massive smiles and exaggerated tone by which she delivered her strains, bringing Dollie to life. The ensemble additionally shone with their ardour and flexibility, switching between a wide range of roles like Every day Bugle reporters, brainwashed college students and frat celebration attendees with ease.
The set was additionally refreshing. Impressed by a comic book, the stage was crammed with brilliant set items with panels of coloration separated by placing white strains for distinction, identical to a comic book ebook. Combat scenes had been accompanied by an exclamation level prop held up by ensemble members. The lights accentuated the depth to make them “bounce off the web page.”
On the finish of the manufacturing, Contemporary-Man embarks on his personal journey of self-discovery. Initially insecure about his personal contributions to the group, he reaches peace with himself and turns into good mates with every member of the group (and in a single case, much more than mates). After subtly flirting all through the present, Contemporary-Man and Contemporary-Lady confess their emotions for one another in a love ballad and share a passionate kiss, accompanied by excited cheers from the viewers.
All in all, the efficiency, a whimsical tackle the Stanford expertise, felt very nicely achieved. All through the two-hour efficiency, I remained engaged by all of the shifting components. The quirky nature of characters — like Dollie together with her socialist commentary and Contemporary-Man along with his naive optimism — contributed to the inventive, comical nature of this longtime custom.
Editor’s Observe: This text is a evaluate and consists of subjective ideas, opinions and critiques.
This text quotes a number of present and former Every day staffers, Ryder Thompson, Susanna Newsom, Charlotte Kearns, George Porteous and Brandon Rupp.