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Latenite's spring anthology riffed on Curious George, Macbeth, and Siri.

The annual Latenite Spring Anthology had students howling in laughter with a parade of lively shorts. This semester’s anthology featured eight skits, each inventive and outrageously funny.

Latenite Theatre was created in 1995 by a group of English and drama and theatre arts majors as a platform for out-of-the-box short productions. Performed in the Lerner Black Box Theater this past weekend, each of this semester’s skits had its own specific twist, a memorable moment when the exaggerated setting and characters were hilariously subverted.

In one short titled “Escaped Monkey,” an unseen screeching monkey was gunned down by two police officers played by Adam Alpert, CC ’19, and Alex Saltiel, CC ’18. The audience was already laughing at the ridiculous enthusiasm with which the two officers used their pretend firearms, but the real kick to the gut was when the Man in the Yellow Hat, played by Ben LaZebnik, CC ’18, walked through the audience asking if anyone had seen Curious George.

At times the actors even had to repeat themselves after being drowned out by the laughter of the audience. This happened most in a short called “Daddy,” which featured an extremely open, even incestous family. The father, played by Nathaniel Jameson, CC ’18, delivered excellent deadpan humor, visibly resisting the urge to burst into tears from laughter himself.

The set quickly and quietly changed between skits, as actors carted supplies on and off stage; as soon as the lights came on, the actors jumped into their roles. The blatant violation of the fourth wall added to the good vibe. The props and costumes were perfectly situated for each performance, never feeling uninspired or cheap.

An instance of perfect costume design came from “Lady Macbeth.” The title character, played by Devin Hammond, BC ’20, walked onto the stage in flowing Shakespearean robes. Her hands were coated in blood, and she screamed in agony. To comfort her, a dog named Spot, played by Ben DuBow, CC ’18, waddled out on all-fours. DuBow’s ridiculous attire—a pair of Dalmatian-spotted ears strapped to his head— in contrast with the serious dress of Hammond, was funny enough to make anyone have a good time. But the real humor came when Lady Macbeth yelled, “Out, damned spot!”—a quote from Shakespeare’s play and a play on the Latenite dog’s name.

Every skit was good, but the two standouts were “The Son” and “Hey, Siri?” In “The Son,” the audience watched a family coming to grips with the tragic news that their son, played by Sam Henick, CC ’18, is a “fucking nerd.” The situation only escalated from there, with his mother, played by AJ McDougall, CC ’21, finally forcing her socially awkward child out into the world at the mature age of six. The ridiculous ending reached a fever pitch of laughter when the lights focused in on an isolated Henick, as “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan played.

Lastly, the “Black Mirror”-inspired “Hey, Siri?” featured another form of escalation, where an all-knowing Siri, played by Carina Goebelbecker, BC ’18, tortures a young boy, played by Luke Cregan, CC ’19 and a Spectator staffer, by recounting both his past mistakes and the tragic future he is destined to live. The skit climaxes with the destruction of the iPhone, and a traumatized Cregan learning that not only will he die at the age of twenty-five, but that he also has repay the owner of the phone for breaking it. The absurdity of both the event and its outcome had the audience roaring.

With programs like “Saturday Night Live” turning increasingly to political humor to deliver quick punchlines, Latenite offered hilarious inventive skits in its place. The show is absolutely worth seeing when it comes around next semester. Siri says so. | @ColumbiaSpec

Latenite Theater
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