Comedy and The Arts
Laughs Find A Home At Festival
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
At the 14th Annual Boston College Arts Festival, laughter was a main component. Whether it was the laughter of children enjoying themselves as they reveled in the arts and crafts, laughing at the charming rendition of The Little Mermaid, or the laughter of adults at the more grown-up comedy shows like Murder at the Holiday Inn Express.
Out of the four comedy troupes on campus – Asinine, Hello…Shovelhead, The Committee for Creative Enactments (CCE), and My Mother’s Fleabag – only two were around for the Arts Festival. I had the pleasure of being entertained by My Mother’s Fleabag and the CCE.
Let’s start with Thursday night. Kicking off the comedy for the festival was My Mother’s Fleabag, back from their big spring show last week, and for one night only. Typical of an improvisational show, there are certain staple “games”—so to speak—that are done. The best part of these games is that most involve the audience in one way or another: “shout out a word, any word,” or the dreaded “can we have a volunteer from the audience?” I answered the call to the latter.
Sitting in the audience, these guys made me laugh, but being a part of a game made me laugh even more. I participated in a game called “pillars.” The premise goes like this—there are two players on stage having a wacky conversation. When they “forget” the end of their “line,” they tap one of the volunteers to finish it for them. A little nervous and unsure of what I would say, I decided to make my responses Harry Potter-themed. One tap, and instead of finding a monster under his bed, my partner found a magic wand. Next, he was casting the spell Wingardium Leviosa at his opponent—I know, not the best defense spell I could think of on the spot, but I did get a few laughs from the audience myself.
Overall, the show proved to be quite funny, and the performers were extremely witty. A few performers I enjoyed were freshmen Sean Bloomstine (A&S ’15) and Pat Genovese (A&S ’15), sophomore Ceara O’Sullivan (A&S ’14), and of course the two directors, junior Bryan Cocchiara (A&S ’13) and senior Michael Wolf (A&S ’12).
After the show, I had the chance to sit down for a quick chat about comedy and the arts with Cocchiara and Wolf.
Cocchiara said, “I think comedy is certainly an art. It involves a creative process. You kind of have to delve into the deeper recesses of your mind and your creativity, you have to put your passion into it, you have to think about it before you express it. It is certainly an extension of yourself like other art forms.” Wolf agreed by adding that, for him, “The most artistic thing is the connection between the people”— both the audience and the other members on stage.
“When [comedy] really becomes an art is when you begin having that conversation with the audience, and it can be a back and forth,” Wolf said.
When I asked them about the comedy on campus, Cocchiara quickly said, “You can’t have enough comedy.” Both comedians said they would like to see more stand-up events and openmic nights that incorporate all four troupes. These types of events wouldn’t have as much pressure as a larger show and would be a great “precursor to the weekend,” according to Wolf.
Speaking of other troupes, that brings me to the Murder at the Holiday Inn Express put on by the CCE. The show, which was performed twice a night both Friday and Saturday, was a Clue-inspired tale written by four of the student performers. The script was clever, but unfortunately the execution was not entirely amusing.
The show began with gathering the audience in the common area of the O’Connell House, and the performers came out in costume—and character—and interacted with the guests until it was time to start. They would put on a scene for everyone in the grand lobby, then split up into three different rooms: either the dining room, piano lounge, or the kitchen. In each room, a different scene occurred, and then everyone would recollect back in the lobby for another general scene. This would repeat itself, and at the final gathering the murderer is finally revealed.
But wait, you think you know the murderer? Think again, because each performance had a different ending with a different murderer. One part of the ending that doesn’t change, however, is the grand entrance of the Agatha Christie character, which proved to be the funniest part of the whole show.
The Arts Festival sets out to celebrate the arts on campus. Thus, it’s important to include comedy on that list. Laughter is the best medicine—scientifically proven to extend your life—and comedy troupes make you feel special by including you in their performance. Comedy stays alive at BC year-round, as the different groups perform their greatest hits for a fall and spring show.