Witt’s theatre department came out with a bang this past week with their first Gonzo Theatre of the year. Before the performances started and in true Gonzo fashion, the actors and actresses passed out free condoms, candy and even packages of ramen. The audience giggled with excitement as students dressed as clowns and even Donald Trump wandered around the audience mingling before the show.
The first skit of the evening was entitled “A PSA with Gonzo” directed by Joy Heino, (‘21). Lena Pirt, (‘21), acted as the all-knowing Gonzo and drunkenly gave advice to her two guests, who were, in fact, played by the same student. The two visitors asked for advice on drug abuse and violent tendencies, to which Gonzo responded with her “magic potion” aka the liquid in her flask as a remedy for their problems.
Following the first skit, Womyn’s Center representative Kylee Bernhardt, (‘21) gave a condom demonstration for the audience. Bernhardt informed the audience that the steps to safe sex start with asking for consent, receiving consent from your partner, checking the expiration date on the condom and then getting on with the show. Bernhardt hilariously struggled to get the condom onto her dildo but was cheered on by her fellow students, who laughed along right with her.
“This one is very lubricated,” Bernhardt said as she kneeled down to muscle on the condom.
“An Average Day featuring Ben Dover” written by Kiersten Heverly (’22) followed a Ben Dover on a day in his life. Dover struggled with daily social interactions and still obsessed over his imaginary friend, which happened to be a terrifying looking baby doll with clown makeup on named Mr. Humphrey. Eventually a behavioral specialist is brought in to analyze his social inabilities. The behavioral specialist and Dover argue over Dover’s social skills and the conversation eventually gets physical and Dover beats the specialist to the ground and runs away, ending the scene.
After another brief intermission and another condom demonstration, this time by an audience member, “The Man, The Myth, The Clown” directed by Bernhardt was up next. The skit followed a failing clown student as they attempt to find clown inspiration. One of the many tests that the clown student failed was blowing up balloon animals. The clown used a condom and before blowing it up, someone from the audience yelled, “check the expiration date!” causing another uproar of laughter. After being bullied by the “West Side Sillies,” a gang of clown school drop-outs, the clown student finally found some motivation, jokingly, in an acting journal found inside of a Shakespeare play.
Yet another brief intermission entertainment, provided by “Ronald Donald Trumpet” doing a dramatic reading of “All Star” by Smashmouth, lead to “Crows” written by Charlotte Sarchet, (‘23). The clever skit was a slightly different tone than the usual Gonzo material, but certainly kept the crowd on their toes with a shocking ending. The skit followed two southern ranch hands as they searched for a scarecrow to use on their farm. After finding no luck, one ranch hand stumbles upon a traveling preacher and decides to kill him and make him into the scarecrow they were looking for.
Lastly, probably the most clever piece of the evening was “The King, The Magician, and The Jester.” In the short scene, a King asked to be entertained by his Jester, even after being warned by his right hand Magician that the Jester isn’t in the right state of mind. Speaking in rhymes, the Jester proves to be far more intelligent than the King was led to believe, and directly addresses the audience, which the King and Magician cannot see. Breaking the fourth wall, the Jester attempts to explain that nothing matters in this world because as soon as the scene is over, it’ll all be insignificant and they will all cease to exist. Infuriated, the King sends the guards onto the Jester, who easily defeats them before running off stage to end the scene.
Overall, the first Gonzo Theatre of the year had a wide range of pieces that made the show unique and kept the audience captivated.