By Shane Dingman
Two weeks ago, I attended a performance of The Creatures From the Board of Directors Part MVII at Oakham House. It was billed as a rollicking assault on dignity and the efficacy of student representation, and ended up being all that and more.
The staging of a great political thriller cum comic tragedy is something we at Ryerson rarely witness and I must admit I was all a twitter.
RyeSAC shows are always based on improv, and this show was no exception. The action was presaged by a clever aside from Daniel (Mearhead) Hornik, who said sotto score to Arif Ashar,.”This is going to be a fiasco.”
Frank (Wise Buddga) Cappadocia started the first act by pantomiming fats eating from the trough. As the rest of the pigs were urged away from their barrels and into their pens, a blanket of hushed anticipation fell over an audience filled with socialist malcontents, business yahoos and the local press.
Although the language was mired in repetition and poor delivery, there were moments of genius as the action proceeded. Erin (Her head is So Wee) George, her usual brawny tones absent in this indoor arena, gave a restrained and mewling report to the board that evoked no great empathy from the audience.
Hornik leaped into the action in hi most wheedling and confused tone, accusing George of horrifying hubris after terrible transgression. Strangely, this part of the action was supposed to be reserved for the fourth act. Did he lose his lines, or was he adlibbing?
There was a minor scene here when Peter (Even More Wee) Tretter attempted to assert his dominance. During George’s report he lobbed a goofy heckle about tying student fees to the National Consumer Price Index versus Toronto’s CPI. Odelia (LAertes’ Sister) Bay chose to get Tretter to a nunnery by quashing his run-on commentary with the support of Wise Buddha. This was to foreshadow Tretter’s attempts to rumble the procedures during the third act.
The second act was a cavalcade of inanity, backslapping and belching arrogance. I will dispense with it thus: It wasted time we would soon learn to be a premium in this production.
The third act was all Tretter, all the time. In a strident and livid and delivery, Rob (Painted With A Broad Brush) Hainnes laid out his attack on wee Twitter. In true Boy Scout leader fashion, Tretter was prepared with motions from Robert’s Rules. It was a scene ripped straight from C-PAC, only twice as boring. Tretter fidgeted with his face, cast his eyes about like a bull on the run and generally looked lost. Haines kept his eyes downcast and his bearing determined.
Over all this Wise Buddha impassively ruled. Trotter won’t be bounced from the board, but he can’t shoot his mouth off any more.
In an unexpected flourish during the closing act, the great meeting-misser, election-appealer, fiasco-predicting Hornik yanked out a bag of shredded paper and dumped it on the table.
“Look at these shreds!”
Greg was caught now, or so it seemed. Hornik harangued and hectored, alleging the letters, which he asserted were private property, were removed from staff mailboxes and shredded.
With Nixonian grace, George prevaricated and asked why we should be wasting our time on who shredded the letters when we had massive battles yet to fight. Henry V’s St. Crispin’s day speech it was not, and shockingly missing were the tears theatre-goers are used to when witnessing an expression of George’s passion. Was the audience to get closure on this issue?
Meathead Hornik went for the jugular in the final moments of the meeting in an attempt to fashion and ad hoc investigation into—I shudder to say it—Shreddergate. The dramatic tension, the accusations, and the haggling over facts were all coming to a head. George saying se didn’t do it, Hornick saying he didn’t believe her, George saying he might have done it, Hornick brandishing his sack of shreds.
The stage was set for a grand climax, but in a quirky twist this reviewer is still trying to digest, the show suddenly ended. Wise Buddha had his birthday party to attend, and it was all over.
Like some strange Dadaist practical joke, everyone filed out with nothing settled. I haven’t been so let down since Great Expectations was made into a movie.