There’s only one time of year where improvised TED talks and live action YouTube videos are to be expected: Bad Theater for a Good Cause.
The second annual event on Sunday, Nov. 3, had the audience in stitches with student performances of acts and topics that wouldn’t normally grace the Umble Center stage. From a “Hamlet” soliloquy delivered in the style of Hank Hill to speed dating with characters from musicals, students get to bring their best “bad theater” to the stage.
The “Good Cause,” of course is that in order to attend the show, audience members must make food or monetary donations.
All donations are then donated to The Window, a not-for-profit located in downtown Goshen, which provides resources to low income people.
This year, the GC Players, Goshen College’s Theater club which organized the event, also added sanitary products to the donation list in an effort to partner with the donation efforts of the Goshen Student Women’s Association (GSWA). After the show, donations were consolidated and the GC Players collected 51 food items, $20 and a large box filled with menstrual products.
“We donate to The Window because it is a local organization and a can of food is a pretty easy thing for students and community members to come up with as an admissions price,” said Lauren Myers, senior and president of the GC Players.
With admission so easy, it’s no surprise that the show draws a crowd of students and community alike.
Although the acts themselves are always new, there is always the possibility of something that will crack a smile.
This year was no exception. There were 10 acts in total, each bringing something different than the other.
“I have constantly been amazed with the original ideas that GC students ask to perform at this event,” said Myers. “[This year] we had everything from people pretending to be cats to an original poetry reading to an audience participation Mad Lib Shakespearean monologue.”
Other events of the show included an induction of Willa Smucker Beidler into the exclusive, albeit fake, Smucker Club, whose members include Olivia, Violet, Anna and Matthew Smucker. Other highlights featured Myers and Olivia Smucker performing a skit based on College Comedy’s “Precious Plum” series and junior Emily Bennett’s rendition of “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence on the ocarina.
The grand finale was a live re-enactment of “Harry Potter and the Mysterious Ticking Noise,” a YouTube video from Harry Potter Puppet Pals that was popular in the late 2000’s.
Six fourth-year housemates (Myers, Matthew Smucker, Marris Opsahl, Kyle Snyder, Stephanie Dilbone and Ethan Lapp) performed the song from behind a black sheet, popping up to sing their parts and dance as their characters.
“I think it was received well,” said Lapp, who performed in a musical act during last year’s show. “Playing Voldemort was fun! I think everyone thought the act was done, but then I popped back up and everybody laughed.”
Another crowd favorite, and a favorite of Lapp’s, was the whole company pretending to be cats as a part of a performance of “Memory” from the musical “Cats.”
The enticing catch of the act was that the lyrics had been swapped out for true facts about both the musical and felines themselves.
All the while, “cats” roamed around the feet of Kailey Rice and Becca Choi as they sang.
“…It wasn’t something I was expecting to do, so I could just improvise and play up on the stage; playing off of Becca and Kailey and the other cats,” said Lapp.
That’s just the attitude that makes Bad Theater for a Good Cause such a campus favorite for all, whether they have traditional stage experience or not.