On Saturday night, my family and I attended a showing of Frosh Revue: Mr. Smith Goes to Froshington, which played all through the weekend. My family wanted to know what the show was about before it began, but I could not describe it, other than as a potential parody of a freshman year. The details of the show were kept a close secret by the cast and directors: I am not easily humored and so was understandably skeptical.
From the start, Frosh Revue was thoroughly engaging. It is put on by Cap and Bells, whose mission is to offer students the opportunity to participate in all aspects of theatre. In addition, the company aims to bring diverse types of theatrical production to the College community. Directors Joseph Baca ’15, Tatum Barnes ’15, Jennifer Helinek ’15 and Emma Cannon ’15 opened the show with their own semi-musical number.
Nonetheless, the show only truly got started when the first-years were onstage themselves. The all first-year cast drew from TV shows, movies, pop culture and life at the College to piece together a comical assortment of acts. I smiled from beginning to end, and my family and I all laughed throughout the show. Frosh Revue didn’t use props or any kind of set – just first-years in colored t-shirts and jeans, but the audience was never bored.
A number of the first-year performers shined in particular, including Chris Owyang ’16. Irene Castillo ’16 also owned the stage with her many comical acts, one mainly being her flawless parody of the ubiquitous Dora the Explorer. She shared the stage with Carina Zox ’16, who played Boots, and Owyang, who played Map. The principal strength of this production was the cast’s unflinching commitment to their roles. They had no shame, they didn’t hold back and they weren’t afraid to embarrass themselves.
Another very strong act was one that parodied a fictitious tutorial on “The Love Letter.” Kimberly Golding ’16 played the overzealous professor holding a tutorial session between two students, played by Gideon Hess ’16 and Ryan McCloskey ’16. The assignment was for these two men to write and respond to each other in love letter form: While both characters felt uncomfortable at first, the story reached the point where both characters broke through the awkward phase and were able to express themselves romantically to each other. This pronounced will to take risks on stage is precisely what an audience looks for when they line up for seats. It’s something that other performances on campus sometimes lack and could certainly aim for in future work.
In between the comical acts, the entire cast performed parodies over popular soundtracks. These were well-written and choreographed, and despite the poor sound quality the songs were very well executed; although most of the jokes were hard to understand if you weren’t a student, the other audience members laughed along nonetheless and seemed to pick up some Williams lingo along the way.
After such a performance I would like to congratulate all of the Frosh Revue cast and crew on a truly successful production. It was funny, lively and spot on. I look forward to seeing this batch of actors in more productions on campus. If you did not get to see the show, you certainly missed out.