Existere doesn’t compare

This year's production more restrained humour than previous years

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Existere is a theatrical treasure in Frosh Week that helps incoming students embrace the fears and excitement of coming to university — because if there’s anything High School Musical taught us, it’s that when you’re feeling frustrated and anxious, it’s nothing a little song and dance can’t fix. 

However unlike previous years, there were times in the show where the gaps lengthened between laughs and a few tweaks in pacing would have benefited tremendously. 

Comedy in general is tricky and takes a lot of work to make it seem effortless. At times, the jokes felt forced and too obvious, as opposed to a more surprising and subtle kind of comedy we’ve come to expect from Existere.

Comedy is all about timing and chemistry, which were both present within the group, yet it struggled sometimes to let the genuinely comedic material within their subject matter speak for itself. 

That said, Existere XXII included a talented cast of second-year students and three third-year directors from a variety of faculties. 

Through hard work and creativity, the troupe presented a series of vignettes and short pieces tackling campus topics such as moving into res, mental health and resources, as well as learning how to have a healthy balance of work and play. The show premiered on September 5 to a packed audience of first-year students and Existere enthusiasts. 

This year’s show featured song parodies like 'Can’t Stop This Feeling', poetry and breakdancing. The show also consisted of classic Existere tropes, such as the “Welcome to the Common room”, “When You Label Me”, and “Numbers at Queen’s”, however, with a fresh spin on the topics. The cast’s energy was contagious and their final bow was taken with well-deserved pride.

Existere is a unique piece of theatre. The cast is trying to get so much across in many short shots, as opposed to one continuous message like a typical work of drama. It’s the perfect combination of funny, heart-warming, eye opening and relatable, which doesn’t come easy to the writers and performers. 

With any work of art, there is always room for workshopping and it was special to watch these young theatre creators at this point in their artistic process. 

As an upper year student with graduation around the inevitable corner, the show brought me a sense of nostalgia and allowed me to reflect on my time in the Queen’s community. 

Good job to the cast and crew for a heartfelt first impression to the frosh and for giving us upper-years a chuckle and a trip down memory lane.

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