Comedy is such a hot topic in the universal sphere of culture. Whether it's a Comedy Central Roast, Showtime at the Apollo, or a show hosted by Kevin Hart, its relevance now has been like never before. And it's always been this way. I'm not kidding. Even at college, comedy always seems to get everyone to bust their guts with laughter. Last month, I had the opportunity to be a part of the very first Comedy Showcase, by the name of Molière in the Middle, and it's just as good as anything a YouTuber does.
By that, I mean that the show's content did a pretty good job of managing to bridge the grey area of historic comedy. One of the most important things that I got out of being in this was the art of Commedia Dell'Arte, which is Italian for "comedy of art". You might see major elements of this type of comedy basically everywhere, from the Simpsons and Futurama, all the way up to an often-overlooked lyric in Bohemian Rhapsody "I see a little silhouette of a man/Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?" Something else about it is that psychological insight and sociopolitical matters don't matter that much, because the focus is mostly on energetic improv, physical humor and just exaggeration all around. In simple English, it's cartoony. It seriously is.
So, who's Molière, anyway? Well, his real name is Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, and he was a French playwright that was initially studying to be a lawyer, but after some time within his father's business, he finally realized his true love was theatre. Much of his work is influenced by Commedia Dell'Arte, and they'd always have the message of how vanity and pride can make the wealthy vulnerable to deceivers and all those scammers. Still resonates today, that's all I'm gonna say.
The scene in the showcase based around him and Commedia Dell'Arte was the Flying Doctor, and I was the Lawyer. So, what happens in the Flying Doctor is that two lovers, by the names of Valère and Lucille, want to get married, although the latter's father has previously arranged a marriage to an older man. Sabine, a friend of theirs, tries to get it postponed by having Sganarelle (Gorgibus's servant) act as a doctor, which proves successful for a couple of scenes. However, when the Lawyer pays Gorgibus a visit, the turning point comes when Sganarelle finds himself reinventing as Narcissus (the doctor's brother), until the plot gets exposed shortly after his escape. In the end, Gorgibus warms up to Lucille and Valère's courtship, and we all live happily ever after.
On the other hand, the contemporary scenes included Death and Cupcakes, which was actually based off of an indie film of the same name, and I would say that it's Sex and the City set at a funeral. There's also The Play That Goes Wrong, which is exactly what it says on the tin; but this is set at community theatre, and not at Broadway. Wrapping up the showcase was the Sketch Comedy Medley, which I was in once again, and a lot of it brought back memories of doing an Improv Comedy class last year, which was so fun! It included a talk show, a dinner scene, and a preview for the college's Mainstage Production of Shrek: The Musical, and that's about it.
Coming out of this, I can say that comedy does a lot for me. It allows me to do more than just feel lighthearted about serious things. It's a valuable thing extending beyond the world, and it's helped me become more funnier by collaboration and communication.