Arts, On Campus

Fleabag Parodies Fyre Fest, BC Culture at Spring Big Show

Boston College students looking for a mix of steamship massacres, bar puns, and more scrambled eggs than you could ever eat needed look no further than My Mother Fleabag’s Spring Big Show. Filling the Vanderslice Cabaret Room, the comedy show provided a hilarious Friday night fix of all that and more.

The show opened up in a familiar college setting: Co-directors Nick Edel, MCAS ’19; Ari Malliaros, CSOM ’19; and Tom Mier, MCAS ’19, hosted a party, only to be confronted by the ghosts of college friendships past. As each Fleabagger crossed the stage, they aired their grievances, which ranged from awkward hookups to defecating in houseplants to sending would-be roommates into homelessness.

“Freeze,” the first game of the night, saw pairs of Fleabaggers act out wildly different scenes, swapping out at each shout of “freeze!” At each switch, the new team would have to adopt the physical posture of their predecessors. The entire cast managed to pull off an impressive array of characters, with the audience showing special appreciation for the bereaved parents of a beloved dog.

In the next bit—“Growing and Shrinking Machine”—Maqui Bernava, MCAS ’22, tried to convince Mier to eat some delicious, earthy worms. Fellow cast members then joined the scene one at a time, jumping forward in time with each entry and backwards with their gradual departure. As Michael Bamford, MCAS ’20; Maya Rao, MCAS ’21; and Graysen Parish, MCAS ’22 took the stage, the story—which slowly dawned on the rollicking audience—progressed into a tale of infidelity, new beginnings, and reconciliation.

Perhaps the best-received game was “Movers and Shakers.” An excited audience volunteer controlled the movement of Edel; Bamford; Brendan McGinity, MCAS ’20; and Sam Harmon, MCAS ’21. Despite that limitation, the scene culminated in a humorous approximation of tangoing.

Halfway through the show, the audience was treated to a very special Fleabag documentary. Mod Fraud, which mirrored the the recent Fyre Festival exposés from Netflix and Hulu, tracked the schemes of A.J. (played by Malliaros) as he convinces his peers that he can secure them Willie Nelson’s former mod (of course, he neglected to mention that the famous singer is a Baylor grad). Throughout the documentary, the audience learns more about the scammer’s previous grifts, including a UIS ripoff and co-opting BC’s emergency broadcast system.

It even included a parody of that famous scene from the Netflix original, in which a heavily-censored Edel had to debase himself and offer BC administrators “the best apple pie [they’ve] ever had.”

Later, Malliaros interviewed an audience member—a Berklee College of Music student—about her day. Once she finished up, every Fleabagger leapt into action, seamlessly reenacting her story, from an early-morning six-hour Instagram session to some awkward flirting between her mother and a Shake Shack cashier.

The audience especially roared with laughter every time Edel made an appearance as one of his two recurring characters: a Berklee cook over eager to provide scrambled eggs and a blind, deaf cat just looking for the sweet, sweet release of death.

The night’s performance showcased Fleabag’s incredible ability to sense what the audience wanted to see, as well as a natural inclination for the absurd. Both were extremely evident in a Mad Libs-esque game of charades: Malliaros was somehow able to guess five audience-supplied sentences (e.g. “Knitting diapers with Beyonce in Punta Cana” or “Smelling lions with Father Leahy on Mars”) in only four minutes.

As the evening drew to a close, the Fleabaggers removed their pants and donned their boxers to serenade the room with a series of BC-themed parodies, each adopted from an “edible artist.” Highlights included “1885” by Bowling for Soup and “The Real Bill Leahy” by Eminem.

Featured Image by Ashton Carroll / For The Heights

April 10, 2019