Vogt A strikes a sexy pose

With ‘three shady shows’ and a risqué theme in hand, the Vogt studio series returns to Carruther’s Hall

Sex! The Musical is a hilarious high school sex education romp that infuses refreshing energy into the Vogt studio series.
Sex! The Musical is a hilarious high school sex education romp that infuses refreshing energy into the Vogt studio series.
Elspeth Wright’s Dead Sexy treads taboo territory successful with the help of a strong cast.
Elspeth Wright’s Dead Sexy treads taboo territory successful with the help of a strong cast.

It’s a rare occurrence when student written plays fare better than professionally written ones at the Vogt Studio Series, a student-run biannual one-act play festival sponsored by the Queen’s Drama Department. This year, Vogt A—also going by the name “Three Shady Shows” on posters around campus—certainly proved that there are exceptions to every rule.

The three shady shows of the aforementioned title are Dangerous Angels, Dead Sexy, and Sex! The Musical—the shadiness of this title refers to these plays’ potentially scandalous discussion on sex acts.

Starting the series off was Dangerous Angels. Written by the only writer of the evening who approaches professional, Scott C. Sickles, the play is—and I am actually being generous with my description here—pretty terrible. To be fair to all involved, this is due mainly to the content of the script, which puts every after-school special that was ever written by a bitter high school student after being stood up at prom to shame, rather than to the play’s actual execution.

A dead father who turns out to have had an incestuous relationship with his sister and a lesbian daughter who is marrying a gay man in order to hide her sexuality, despite her mother’s (the angry housewife’s) plea to wait for the woman she loves, make up the play. Dangerous Angels is just one monkey and a few witches short of a soap opera along the lines of Passions.

The play’s themes appear to be beyond the age of the actors who often seem uncomfortable on stage and not wholly committed to their parts. The crying scenes are especially difficult to watch. But a few glimpses of untapped talent are provided by the sexy Richard Hogan, as Uncle Ty—the man whose wife was sleeping with her brother—who showed tremendous potential, and Maital Falkovitz as Miranda—the angry housewife—who demonstrates sincerity and control in the abysmally bad closing monologue. Director Saffron Dieroff’s staging is both clean and effective despite her decision to begin the play with a dumb show of Ben (the father’s) funeral—dead body and all. This is just as dubious as her decision to stage this off-putting play as the first installment. The best part of this production is the singing and guitar playing of Katie Pile at both the beginning and end of the show. It’s just too bad that the audience had to sit through 30-plus minutes of drivel in order to hear her.

Making up for the rocky start, Dead Sexy, the next play in the lineup, is a delightful dark comedy written by Queen’s drama student Elspeth Wright. Wright’s play is about the trials and tribulations that a young married couple, Bailey and Macy, undergo once Bailey discovers that his wife is a necrophiliac. There are some great laughs in this play, though too many scene changes interrupt the flow. The surprise ending, which I am assuming is intended to be funny, was perhaps in bad taste—but maybe I am just being a prude. Scott Murray and Caitlin Glasgo display excellent chemistry and a good sense of comic timing in their portrayal of the young couple. Glasgo’s frenzied depiction of the sexually unfulfilled Macy is especially delicious.

Unfortunately, director Brian Unger did not get these actors to take enough risks during the scene where, in order to simulate having sex with a dead body, Macy tries to make love to her drugged husband who will not stop snoring. If Unger had gotten a bigger and more dramatic orgasm out of Glasgo instead of shying away from the moment in his direction, he could have gotten the ushers to hand out Depends along with the programs because the audience would have peed their pants.

The highlight of the evening, though, was most definitely Sex! The Musical. Written and directed by drama students Lois Adamson, Claire Violet Brown, Dana McNeill and Katie Uhlmann, Sex! The Musical is a fun, frothy, feel-good romp through a semester in the life of a group of high school students taking Ms. Kitty Bush’s sexual education class.

The play cleverly borrows melodies from musicals as varied as The Sound of Music, Les Misérables and Little Shop of Horrors and gives them new lyrics. In one memorable scene, Ms. Kitty Bush teaches her students about safe sex by turning Oklahoma’s “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning” into “Now, Take Your Yellow Banana.” Adamson, Brown, McNeill and Uhlmann have put together a stellar ensemble cast. It seems unfair to single out any one actor because they were all so good, but kudos must go out to Shannon Mitchell for her brazen performance as the equally brazen Virginia Hymen, Steven Suepaul for being so cute, lovable, and sweet as the sexually confused Timmy Member, Chloe Durst for her quirky portrayal of Flo Wonder and to Ruth Goodwin who hardly had any lines but who chewed her hair with aplomb as the class-geek, Mary. I have never understood why the Vogt Studio producers put on bad plays just to fill their three-plays-per-series quota. The evening would have been much more enjoyable if it had just been Dead Sexy and Sex! The Musical. Nevertheless, these two plays make sitting through Dangerous Angel worth it.

Vogt A runs on October 24 at 8 p.m. and October 25 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. in Carruthers Hall.

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