Queen's University — Since 1873
4th November 2011

Vogt A plays get provocative

The Student-run theatre, Vogt Studio, premieres four one-act comedies exploring social issues

Venerating Pablum is the final play of Vogt, got funny, A?, showcasing two trust fund artists who are about to release their newest creation on the Ontario theatre scene.
Venerating Pablum is the final play of Vogt, got funny, A?, showcasing two trust fund artists who are about to release their newest creation on the Ontario theatre scene. (Asad Chishti)

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This year Vogt gets funny, tackling themes of religion and homosexuality through mature and irreverent comedy.

Vogt’s first production of the year, Vogt, got funny, A? is made up of four one-act plays. Web Confessional, The Badger and the Star, Jimmy the Antichrist and Venerating Pablum tackle a wide range of humour from satire to gross comedy.

Vogt Studio puts on a series of one-act plays three times a year with support from the Queen’s drama department. Past plays have been more experimental, but Vogt, got funny, A? uses conventional humour.

Web Confessional is a satire of Internet culture and sets the tone for the show with alcoholism, adultery, masturbation and murder. Two couples search for online relationship advice, and encounter seductive Sister Priscilla. Writer Devon Jackson’s wordplay brings the laughs in this production. Though the dependence on the medium of video chat slows down the pace of the play, it compensates with a confident and comical satire of religion, showing Sister Priscilla indulge in lubricant and alcohol.

The black humour of The Badger and the Star is skilfully conveyed, but its composition is overly ambitious for a one-act play. While tamely confronting problems of love and class, the atmosphere of the piece is hindered as the beautiful star played by Alex Mundy remains prostrate, acting more as a distraction than contributing to the action. Her immobility is excusable as a thematic device, but an alternative visual performance would have been more effective.

Jimmy the Antichrist discusses homosexuality and religion in a hilariously ironic performance. Staged as a sitcom of an idealized suburban family, the audience acts as the boisterous studio audience. The studio laugh track will likely be drowned out by real laughs, as Jimmy returns home from college with a flamboyant companion. Despite all-too-familiar clichés such as musical theatre and show tunes, the piece successfully explores concerns of sexuality in society.

Venerating Pablum is the comedic climax of the evening. Ronald and Djulio are two trust fund artists about to release their latest masterpiece on the Ontario theatre scene. Their witty antics go as far as a musical lamentation of large tumours protruding from female genitals — epitomizing the elitist culture that surrounds abstract art. With subtle self-deprecating jests, the drama unfolds into one of the best plays of this production.

If the farcical depiction in the second half is a glimpse of things to come, then Vogt is headed in a provocative direction.

Vogt got funny, A? plays tonight and tomorrow at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at Vogt Studio in Carruthers Hall. Tickets are $4.

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