The University of Minnesota’s underground theater collective, uniquely entitled The Underground Theater Collective, was shocked and a little dismayed this week to hear that their audience was genuinely amused and entertained.
“I thought it was hilarious!” exclaimed Gopher Football benchwarmer, Troy Anus.
Within the 30 minutes of the performance art piece, the 20-year-old members of The Underground Theater Collective sought to shed light on racism, sexism, economic disparity, insensitivity to the LGBT community, Dinkytown robberies, police brutality, a corrupt American political system, why the gopher football sucks every year, the war on drugs, the 9/11 conspiracy, U of M fraternity orgies, dogs with the sniffles, a cactus, President Kaler’s weirdly bearded genitalia, and the true beauty of art.
“No, I don’t think that we were too ambitious,” scoffed Jenny Sax, the self-proclaimed artistic director, and only member with the money to make t-shirts.
Although The Underground Theater Collective approached the subject matter with intensity and seriousness, hoping to shock people into true feelings of empathy and passion, the performance art piece elicited uproarious laughter from their audience. Perhaps this had to do with the fact that every member of the company was dressed as either Goldy the Gopher, a twin tower, or their favorite street drug; and wore judicial robes with hats that read “Make America Bait Again.”
Dismayed at the audiences’ unexpected laughter, The Underground Theater Collective started to lose what they had created in rehearsal. Jennifer Hunte lost her concentration on her scene partner and tripped, plunging ass-first into the most pivotal prop in the show: the cactus. The rest of the audience, thinking that this was what the performance piece was really about, laughed at the clowns attempting to change peoples’ political opinions.
“I thought people would sob, faint, or have a religious experience, but I never thought they would have a genuinely good time,” said company member, and perpetual lisper, Shaun Sassensasist. “Art isn’t about letting the audience have fun, it’s about shoving as much dribble as you can down the throats of unsuspecting pedestrians.”
In a ring of spectators usually reserved for fist fights and ridiculous campus preachers, the crowd grew in size as Carlson students passed the performance art piece on their long trek back to East Bank. Most stopped, seeking any form of entertainment that didn’t involve a graph. Just as they did so, a company member dressed as the East Tower performed a cartwheel, exposing a strangely bearded penis made out of glued cotton balls and a pink pool noodle.
Soon, a pack of music students trudged out of their prison practice rooms in the basement of Ferguson, seeing the light of day for the first time that week. Unfortunately, they were met with a theatrical troupe forming a human tower whilst chanting Ski-U-Mah and holding signs with the text “Girls. Black. Go Gophers.” However, the laughter that ensued from the horde of music students was more out of hysteria than actual joy.
The non-performance liberal arts majors at the U of M were then kicked out of Wilson Library and, one-by-one, scoffed at the penniless actors blowing bubbles at pictures of Donald Trump. As they returned to their philosophy books and five-hundred pages of Jeffersonian political theory, however, a slight smirk appeared on the faces of the liberal arts majors, an expression that had previously been lost through years of political correctness and fatigue.
As the show came to a halt with the sweet sound of a dog blowing its nose, there were whoops and hollers of approval from the eclectic mixture of overtired, entertainment-deprived University of Minnesota students.
“No, I didn’t think we’d get that kind of reaction,” said jaded UMN/BFA Guthrie Actor’s Training Program senior, and meta individual, Austin Fischer. “Honestly, I didn’t know what the fuck was going on.”
Zombies, footballs, and beers oh my: