Mosaic / Reviews / February 12, 2014

‘Knoxwurst’ among campus theater’s best

The production entitled Knoxwurst was a compilation of Knox student-written plays that are purposefully bad. They included clever puns, special effects, sexual tension and a cameo by Visiting Professor of Theatre Sherwood Kiraly.

There has never been anything like this at Knox before. Senior Jackie Hewelt started Knoxwurst after he was inspired by Drekfest Festival in Chicago. This is another compilation of terrible theatre and is a competition to find the worst piece. Hewlet coordinated this production and was also the host of each show. He added extra fun by making puns and clichŽ jokes with the audience. This really set up the whole atmosphere of the shows: entertainment through clichŽs.

The show started the minute a viewer walked into Studio Theatre. All cast and crew members stood by the door and cheered when people walked in. This created many different reactions of awkwardness, fright and some audience members even felt proud. The cast went as far as to “boo” and question people while they were leaving before the shows began. No one wanted to leave for the performances, though. The theater was packed full with three extra lines of chairs added. This was hectic and irritating, but did not interfere with the plays and the enjoyment they offered.

There were five plays performed in a row. This sounds like it may drag on, but the plays were quick and entertaining making time fly by. The first performed was “I Don’t Know” written by senior Miranda Loeber and directed by sophomore Maricar Macario. There were two parts played by freshmen Danielle Freeman and Trevor Marshall. The pair worked together well although very soft-spoken. Some dialogue may have been missed, but the play was still enjoyable and witty.

The next play was “This Play Means Something” by sophomores Morgan Barton, Rebecca Harwell, Michelle Secunda, and sophomore Karli Shields, directed by sophomore Amalia Hertel. Sophomore Kyle Connor as AP, Megan Beney ‘13 as Sadie McGradie, and freshman Theresa Murphy as Paul Andrews, had great projection and emotion in their performance. Particularly, Connor stole the stage with his boisterous voice and exaggerated movements. He had many monologues that incorporated well-known plays.

Sadie McGradie is a character that is a kindergarten teacher and this was delayed through her lines. The playwrites brought back old nursery rhymes through Sadie’s dialogue. At the end of this play, all cast members died and it was even stated through their dialogue how this has to happen. This is a very common tactic used in tragedies; the members mimicked Romeo and Juliet and died all together. Death in plays has to mean something, right? ClichŽs and predictable plot points were made throughout this play, but this is what made the play enjoyable rather than unbearable.

“DnD: The Musical”, written by sophomore Katie Greve and directed by sophomore Maggie Veach, captured the clichŽ of “together, as friends, we conquer”, making this a musical was just added fun. The chorus of actors may not have been the most pleasant to hear, but it was obvious they were having fun and the audience loved them. In this musical, Table Ghost, played by junior Philip Chau, makes an appearance and threatens the friends’ game. Table Ghost was very threatening with the “special effects” of a sheet draped over him, but the friends joined together and defeated him by working together. This old clichŽ of joining together still rings true and, although predictable, made a hilarious musical.

What is a production of clichŽ plays without a cameo? Senior Nathan Johlas covered this one in his play “Two Girls, One Cup” directed by Maggie Veach. The play starts with two woman sitting at a table sharing a cup of coffee. Then many clichŽs about twins, clones, and every soap opera plot twist was added to make this seemingly normal activity insane. It only got more insane as Ron Paul, played by Veach, simply sat and stared at an audience member. There was no way this play could be any more insane, when suddenly Sherwood Kiraly, playing himself, came onstage. Stock-full with clichŽs and random moments, Johlas did a great job of making a terrible play great.

Knoxwurst concluded with the definition of a clichŽ performance entitled “Porn”, written by Steve Selwa ‘13 and directed by junior Emily Antoff. There were countless innuendos and so much “sexual tension” on stage. Woman, played by junior Emily Passarelli, did a fantastic job of being that clichŽ woman in a terrible porno. All actors involved were able to make very uncomfortable jokes and comments, yet never make the audience cringe. ClichŽs abundant and awkwardness intensified, this play seemed to be a crowd favorite.

Knoxwurst was a fantastic production filled with puns, clichŽs, legendary Kiraly and every soap opera plot line ever created. Jackie Hewelt does not know if there will be future productions like this, but it would be worth it. The playwrights did a great job writing, actors enjoyed being “terrible” and the audience couldn’t stop laughing.

Leslie Wiltscheck

Tags:  bad Drekfest Knoxwurst theater

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