On Valentine’s Day students can choose between “Fifty Shades Freed” and “Fifty Shades of Comedy,” but only one features vampire boyfriends.
On Wednesday, Lapu, the Coyote that Cares Theatre Company and Shenanigans Comedy Club will perform love-based segments in “Fifty Shades of Comedy.” The Valentine’s Day show, which will take place in the Kerckhoff Grand Salon, will bring comedy to the holiday by mocking romantic genres and cliches, said producer Drew Tran.
Tran, a fourth-year psychobiology student, said the show will consist of four five-minute skits and four improvised segments. Along with LCC’s sketches and improv segments, Shenanigans Comedy Club will showcase five stand-up comics and a long-form improv set. Each act will revolve around romance, allowing audience members opportunities to mock love on a day meant for savoring it, he said.
“The goal of the show isn’t really to place romance as this huge deal,” Tran said. “We think romance can be funny sometimes, and we’re here to highlight the weird and comedic instances that take place in love.”
“Murderer, I Hardly Know Her,” a skit written by fourth-year psychology student Elijah Lang, teases the monologue-ridden genre of film noir. Lang said he drew inspiration from a film noir podcast titled “The Penumbra Podcast,” in which the protagonist speaks mostly in monologues. He and his acting partner, third-year linguistics and psychology student Mars Holscher, joked about how funny it would be if all the characters in their skit could hear the protagonist’s inner monologues, he said.
At the beginning of the skit, Holscher’s character, who is a femme fatale, begins to realize that she can hear the detective’s monologues, and vice versa, leading to some awkward reactions to phrases such as “her legs are like a gunshot – long and deadly and would ring in your ears for days.” Lang said he wanted his sketch to come off as campy as possible – an obvious parody of the romance trope in film noirs.
“My goal was really just to say ‘look at this trope or this stylization that’s so classic, but look at how stupid it really is,’” he said.
“Fifty Shades of Comedy” will also ridicule other commonplace portrayals of romance such as the “Twilight” trope of vampiric love, said producer Lisa Kahn. The fourth-year history student will make her acting debut as an old-fashioned vampire in the skit “Bat Boyfriend.”
The skit follows a girl who starts to notice her boyfriend has some strange habits, such as consuming insects and hiding in caves, before realizing she is dating a bat. Donning a black cape, slicked-back hair and gaunt makeup, Kahn would creepily hover over the girl with wide eyes in an awkward attempt to flirt and ask her out on a date. Eventually, the girl dates the bat in the hopes of copying Bella Swan with her own vampire boyfriend, Kahn said.
“For so many, Bella and Edward represented love, and we just want to poke fun at that whole phenomenon,” she said.
The improvised segments and stand-up comics will take a similar approach to love, Tran said. Based off games like “new rhyme,” the improv and stand-up sections will select love-related prompts from the show’s audience. In the company’s Valentine’s Day version, an audience member might suggest a term like “love” or “break up,” prompting an actor to respond with an improvised phrase such as, “What do you mean you don’t love me?” From there an improv director would call “new rhyme,” forcing the next actor to rhyme his new line to the previous one, like “Now you have to pay the fee,” he said.
Kahn said LCC hopes students can use the show as an opportunity to laugh at romance and take a break from the stress of midterms.
“We hope that people can go in with their minds and hearts heavy with midterms, internships and all that college has to offer, and be able to laugh at something as ubiquitous as laughter, love and romance,” she said.