The Long Form ShowBy Jumaane Jeffries
Sat. Apr. 8, 2000
Cast: Ben Balas ’02, Chris Connor G, Erin Conwell ’03, Dan Katz ’03, Jeff Klann ’01, Maitland Lederer ’03, Jared Schiffman G
According to Ben Balas ’02, a member of the cast, Roadkill Buffet is “committed to the highest standards of aromatic affluvience in improvisational comedy.” Of course, he was reading from the poorly-handwritten notes on my marble notepad, on which I meant to write, “dramatic exploration” as opposed to “aromatic affluvience.”
Nevertheless, it was a fitting post-show conversation, which embodied the same spirit as the last show of their two-day “road” tour, The Long Form Show.
The show started off, I assume, in rather organized form. After declaring that “The Front Row is Ours!” five members of the cast stood side by side in two rows, and proceeded to engage in the art of storytelling. The section of the show, called, “Our Town,” told the convoluted, random story of a castle, a cosmetic salesman, flowers of too many colors, and, I believe, a convention center.
The progression of this section of the show was surprisingly fluid, witty, and lightheartedly funny. Even though the members stood still for the entire time, the audience could relate to the characters as a result of their voice variations and accents, which conveyed an element of intrigue and pathos. Okay, maybe not so much pathos, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Even the plot holes were filled in nicely, and since such details were random, they heightened the humor even more.
The final, larger portion, was in the form of a Harold, which is a style of performance with multiple characters and story lines that somehow come together in the end. The performers began with a short introduction called “The Invocation.” Taking place at the Poet’s Corner, the skit exposed the audience to the most jarring, disturbing, spontaneous poems of our time. The audience helped to contribute an “object” to be mentioned during each poem. This instance was the only one that involved the audience directly; the show could have been improved with more interaction with the crowd.
The Harold was the first time that bodily gestures were used to convey ideas. The motions that accentuated the poetry were either ridiculous, funny, or funnily ridiculous, punctuated by the mood of the naturally created jazz music. A poem by Jared Schiffman G, which ended with the subtle, “Bite me! Bite me! BITE ME, BIG BIRD!” was the toast of the crowd.
The concluding act -- the main body of the Harold -- included a young woman who auditions against a transsexual stewardess at a network with wacky ideas. Slapstick was the name of the game here, as the beginning of the scene on the plane was perfectly synchronized with the actors’ scene in the movie the passengers were watching.
The Long Form Show was an enjoyable, intentionally funny diversion from all of the accidentally funny events of the day. If you like watching artistic exploration in progress, but dislike the aromatic affluvience inherent of comedic stinkers (as seen in lots of movies lately), then RKB could definitely be that convenient diversion the next time around.