Biblical ‘Gaieties’ continues its immoral reign

Dec. 1, 2010, 12:32 a.m.

“Gaieties” – it was funny when I could hear it? The show kicked off its annual Big Game Week musical production a little after 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24 to a Memorial Auditorium packed with rowdy, slightly inebriated Stanford students and a handful of nervous alumni.

In this year’s tale of Cal’s inferiority complex and Stanford’s pure awesomeness, Jesus Christ, a bothered yet innocent Stanford freshman, runs into trouble as Cal students and their ringleader, Lucifer, attempt to diminish Stanford’s perfection by getting Jesus to commit all the seven cardinal sins in one evening. While the plot for “Gaieties 2010: The Last Temptation of Cal” was straight from the Bible, the production was anything but pure. Altogether, it was chaotic, inappropriate, slightly inaudible and not for the faint of heart, but hey, that’s Gaieties.

Some of the more memorable acts of the evening came when the troupe capitalized on group stereotypes such as the Diaspora list, SLE and, of course, those sororities. Who didn’t laugh at the uber-excited, tinsel-haired Thetas or the Black Panther-esque student as she chewed out the black Jesus Christ – of course Jesus is black in Gaieties – for wanting off the Diaspora list?

Gaieties also seems to have a way of finding any opportunity to be politically incorrect. One of the “Activisluts Fair” posters for Darfur Feast read: “Darfur Feast: We eat because they can’t.” If that statement does not disregard morality, I don’t know what does.

There definitely were token moments in the show, yet they were fleeting and mostly random interjections of some sort. The crux of the problem was with the sound system. For some reason, the singers were almost always inaudible, and microphones were not turned on until actors were mid-sentence in Wednesday’s performance.

Although the sound may not have been there, the energy certainly was in attendance. The cast of 31 filled the stage well, with notable performances coming from Mary Beth Corbett ‘12, the requisite slut, and Benno Rosenwald ‘11, the atheist SLE-ster. At times, the cast overwhelmed the stage by frolicking too much in the background, making it difficult for the audience to concentrate on the main story, but the distractions were usually entertaining and thus not shunned.

Reading through the program, one could tell that the execution did not always do the writing justice. To every musical performance there are two parts: the singing and the choreography. Unfortunately, the singing during the musical performances was generally too high or too low for the audience to understand the lyrics, so we missed out on abrupt innuendos, classic jabs at Cal and obnoxiously obvious comparisons between Stanford and all things godly. Thankfully, the choreography was thoughtful and well-performed so as to supplement the respective songs and thus the narrative.

It’s no secret that at the end of each Gaieties show, Stanford finds a way to trump those jealous Cal crazies, but this is also just a fact of life. “Gaieties 2010: The Last Temptation of Cal” sufficed in finding a clever way to present the classic tale of Stanford triumph. Be aware that one must enter knowing that one is likely to be confused, offended and bombarded by the trusty nude brood, all while not being able to hear much of anything – but again, that’s Gaieties.

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