Quintessentially Quirky ‘Quickies’
This Sunday night, students found shelter from the snowstorm by gathering in the Shapiro Campus Center theater to watch “Quickies,” a series of single-act ten-minute plays, a deeply beloved Brandeis tradition. At the start of the show, the theater was virtually full, aside from a few vacant seats speckled in between groups of friends in the audience. The performance was more informal and relaxed in nature than other plays, and the acts varied from silly to serious.
The casual environment was aided by the element of audience participation introduced through one of the acts, “Gabe’s Games,” a spoof of a game show in which participants were called upon to guess a number between one and one billion. Despite the lack of success on the participants’ part, there was no shortage of audience members willing to go onstage and take part in the games. The participants were richly rewarded with mini Snickers bars. Another crowd favorite comedy act was “Poison Dick,” in which a character finds himself in what one can only hope is a rather unrelatable situation of momentarily believing his penis is lethally poisonous.
Fun and games aside, four of the acts stood out in their serious nature and heartbreaking content: “When It Rains,” “Wordless,” “You Can’t Blame the Giant” and “Voices.” The act “Wordless” stood out as the only dystopian scene, revolving around the idea of a post-apocalyptic world in which the government, called the “Administration,” held the power to censor which words people were allowed to say and how often they could say them; the government banned certain words it deemed dangerous, such as “oppression,” “freedom” and “poem.” Not only was it well-performed but the concept was imaginative to the point that one can see it being turned into a successful novel franchise. “Wordless” was immediately followed by “You Can’t Blame the Giant,” one of the most somber acts, regarding a car crash, loss of a loved one and the question of responsibility that haunts many touched by tragedy.
Several audience members grabbed their coats and did not return after intermission. Whether this was due to a misunderstanding or perhaps the choice to try and avoid even heavier snowfall on the return home, those who left missed out on one of the most popular — and confusing — sketches of the night: “Hygiene, Self-Worth and Personal Care in General Starring Harry Furer.” The only act to include all of the cast members, the performance flooded the audience with chaos. Cast members called for two orders of tater tots and asked when the wedding was happening as one cast member shaved on stage not only his face but his entire torso with first a razor and then a large knife in the most comedic and impractical way. The same cast member recited a well-written and funny but with deeper, serious undertones, poem that was about hygiene, self-worth and personal care in general.
Music that was irrelevant to the acts but also perfectly fitting the entire show in its unpredictability, chosen by the producers shortly before the show started, played in between the acts. Each act stood out as unique: from the relatability of sitting through a theater class in “161 THA-21b: Acting” to the mock interpretive dancing in “Shoes On, Shoes Off.” Overall, the fact that the play was completely student-run, each act written by a Brandeis student, shows the incredible abundance of creativity and skill present on this campus.
DIXIE DUDES: Raphael Stigliano ’18 and Lauren Hill ’20 act in a “Quickie” called “Poison Dick,” playing two southern characters.