After Hours Theatre has its title for a reason. More like an informal gathering of loose acquaintances and interested passersby, the student-written performances put on Friday night from 11 to midnight showcased the ingenuity of time and money-strapped theatre majors, whose uproarious skits incited crowd participation. From angsty teenagers to feuding roommates, After Hours Theatre covered the whole spectrum of Boston College personalities.
The night’s first skit involved a legion of depressive misanthropes seeking the company of other anti-socialites. The story begins when a newcomer asks to join this elitist society on the basis that she’s miserable like the rest of them. As the other members put it, “Misery loves company”—an oft quoted remark that, on multiple occasions, sent the audience into an uproar. Quick to jump on any opportunistic dreariness, the club has her recite an oath declaring all the despairful things to which she’ll devote herself. When it comes time to decide which topics to discuss, however, things get a little contentious. The ponytail kid, always equipped with a dastardly vape he blows in people’s faces, wants to talk about an apparently recurring theme—that is, spiders. His daily itinerary of the mundane tasks with which he’s burdened is both hilarious and dramatic: waking up “early” at 1 in the afternoon to stare at the ceiling for an hour, contemplating life’s futility, watering the cactus, and hiding the Juul of someone named Dan Lotte. But the new inductee takes offense at his sensitivity. What’s a spider bite compared to losing a relationship? The other members get involved once the meaning of true misery comes into question. Wouldn’t having ever loved constitute some form of happiness, destructive of the club’s very structure? Among the skit’s many highlights was the ponytail kid’s perfect communication of the grief-stricken melodrama common to darkly clad hipsterdom. His poetry—broadcasted into the audience with a powerfully articulated poignance—drew explosions of laughter, especially when he is kicked out of the club for confessing he is in a relationship.
The next skit, titled “Emergency Exit,” made ingenious use of a simple prop: an exit door. “What kind of drama can a door provide?” you may ask. When a mall employee tries to leave through his usual route and is stopped by a preppy passerby (and casual neurotic), conflict soon ensues. Under the chance event that this emergency exit might set off an alarm, and thus cause the mall’s food court to release him and the children to abandon their posts at Build-A-Bear—an apparently traumatic childhood memory—he cannot risk letting his foe pass. A conflict soon erupts, where the mall worker comically attempts drawing his attention away from the exit, but to no avail. The tension and bursts of aggravation were timed perfectly, lending to ridiculous slapstick battles full of kung-fu poses and Stooges-esque hair-pulling. The arbitrariness of the situation created an intense engagement in the stakes of these petty missions for self-glorification—even over something as picayune as exits. After an interloper stops the fighting, the two enemies decide to grab coffee—a well-planned finale that sent the intoxicated crowd into peak fervor.
By the third skit, this audience was indeed in no mood to stay quiet. Repeated interruptions, appraisals, and snide comments had engendered an atmosphere of absolute anarchy. After an exclamatory announcement from the playwright herself, the troupe plunged into its final skit, which revolved around two feuding roommates whose issues extend beyond mere miscommunication. One can’t stand her obnoxious roommate, who always has guys over but complains when she speaks to a single friend. At such a moment, the antagonist appears, bombarding the casually chilling couple with a series of assaults and accusations—primarily, asking them why they had deliberately drunk her orange juice. Even greater issues emerge when it’s revealed that this practitioner of the unpleasant is seemingly unaware of her own overbearingness.
The evening ended with a sudden entrance by the seniors, who stormed the stage as the audience chanted their appraisal. The hosts, dressed in matching dress shirts of equally drab color, introduced the seniors on opposing teams—the heroes and villains—each bearing a distinct comedic personality that was more sincerely frivolous than fraught with the oft-times forced fraternal sentiment. A laid-back and barely serious set of introductions paved the way for raunchy improvised antics, such as throwing beer on the face of an opponent, exuberant dance exercises, and more. Though much of the humor seemed self-referential—as in, you had to be acquainted with the performers to really get the meaning of their jokes—the event nonetheless had a laid-back and engaging vibe, providing the perfect stage for a (perhaps improper) goodbye from the most soon-to-be theatrical departees of BC.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff