Experienced cast gears up for orientation play

Last year’s Orientation Play featured cast members throwing handfuls of condoms into the audience. Those lucky audience members who got to snag a couple (“Yeah, I’m gonna use this tonight! Heh”) were fortunate enough to get a little reminder of the Orientation Play whenever they saw those condoms in their wallets over the course of the next few months.

The question is: Will you be an audience member this year? Will you be fortunate enough to laugh your butt off for two hours and collect whatever lovable treat the actors have in store for you at the end? Or will you be spending Saturday night alone in your room organizing your notebooks and physics flashcards? Only time will tell.

The play traditionally features the infamous “Admissions Mistake.” The idea is that all freshmen are terrified that they alone are the not-smart, not-talented, not-worthy-of-this-wonderful-college student whose name got mixed up with some kid who published a dissertation on the links between Shakespeare’s soliloquies and the number of times Einstein combed his hair. The point of the play is that there is no admissions mistake, and that even if you were never a sky-diving champion, you still belong at Swarthmore.

For better or for worse.

This year’s play has an enthusiastic, very experienced set of actors and directors.

The play is co-directed by Elliot Weiser ’13 and Patrick Ross ’15. Weiser has years of experience, and is best known at Swarthmore for his particularly memorable performance in 2011’s George Bernard Shaw’s “Farfetched Fables”. Unfortunately, Weiser was unable to comment, since all of his free time is currently spent editing the Orientation script.

Ross, who was recognized for his brilliant performance as a sometimes sad clown in senior Erica Sands’ Advanced Directing Workshop piece in the spring, said that “2016ers should come see the show for two reasons: one, it’s hilarious and you’ll love it, and two, it’ll teach you more about Swarthmore than you’ll learn anywhere else in orientation. We get into diversity, sexual harassment, misery poker, partying, romance, roommate relationships… You name it.”

Alex Cannon ’14, who starred in the tri-co production of Sondheim’s “Assassins”  in 2010 and is an orientation play alum, said that “everyone will tell you that it’s the best part of orientation.”

Andrew Dorrance ’15, an actor in the show and a veteran of the LPAC mainstage from his performance as a no-longer-closeted gay man in the hit show “Company” last fall, said that the show will be full of pop-culture references. Guesses, anyone? Think Bieber will make an appearance? Think they’ll take a swing at the “Twilight” series, or maybe E.L. James’ erotic hit thriller “Fifty Shades of Gray”?

The cast also includes the aforementioned Sands, an honors theater major; Daniel Cho ’15, an acting, singing, and dancing trifecta; Josh McLucas, who played a melancholy prince in the off-beat land of Burgundia in last spring’s “Ivona: Princess of Burgundia”; Abigail Henderson, a leading member of Swarthmore’s Shakespeare Troupe “Yellow Stockings;” Kimaya Diggs, a member of the hit-a cappella group Mixed Company and a sensation on the stage; and many, many more talented, wonderful students. The show is stage-managed by Supriya Davis ’15.

Upperclassmen generally head back to campus early so that they can see the show, and the Lang Performing Arts Center Mainstage auditorium tends to be packed full. Older students laugh because they get the jokes, and incoming students probably laugh because it’s just plain funny. And because they get the jokes. Because there are no admissions mistakes, so the class of 2016 is probably pretty damn smart.

Ross pointed out that the play has more value than just humor. He says, “Most of all, the play reminds us all how important it is to take care of ourselves and rest up at times. 2016s, upperclassmen and faculty and staff alike could probably do with that reminder.”

So, should you go to see the Orientation Play? Those notebooks and flashcards can probably wait till later, right? And if it’s a time of day that you’re likely to be hungry, there’s unlikely to be anywhere nearby to get a bite to eat, so that’s not an option. Are there books to read, TV shows to watch, clothes to iron, boyfriends to call, reminiscing to do, calculators to polish and an upcoming school year to stress over unduly? Well… yeah.

But the night of Saturday, September 1 should be a time of laughter, bonding and getting to know a great new addition to our school.

Or, as Ross says, “If all else fails, you should come see the play because Orientation Week is dry and you have nothing better to be doing.”

Show Date: Saturday, September 1st at 9:00 PM

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