The Lab Theatre hosted “An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein” directed by senior Maxim Hunt on Monday.
Shel Silverstein is a renowned poet and children’s author of well-known material including “Falling Up,” “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” “Light in the Attic” and “The Giving Tree.”
A New York Times 1999 article said “It was his children’s verses that are best known and often compared with masters of the form like Dr. Seuss and A.A. Milne.”
Opening night was a full house, people were turned away and seats had to be added.
The show is an hour long, containing six acts and songs from Harry Nilsson, including “Lime and the Coconut.”
“The show was Maxim’s idea; it just came out of his head,” stage manager Dustin Miller said. “He thought about the song from Nilsson acting as a flow in between the scene changes. I thought that it turned out really well.”
Hunt, the director, said, “Both Shel Silverstein and Harry Nilsson have influenced my imagination and creative bone. I grew up reading the books and listening to the music of these two gentlemen, and I really think they complement each other nicely.”
“One Tennis Shoe” opened the show with a couple in their late 20s sitting at a restaurant. Harvey, played by Brian Carbine, gently tells his wife Sylvia (Esther Jentzen) she is a bag lady. He tries to reason with Sylvia pointing out she has “One” shoe and a puddle of cold, cooked oatmeal in her bag.
Jentzen is fantastic in her build up from sarcastic mocking of “I’m too young to be a bag lady” to heavy denial and then furious acceptance. This scene is funny from start to finish and had the audience laughing all the way through.
Games and ultimatums have to be made in “The Lifeboat is Sinking.” Lisa, played by Kerry Conniff, offers a dramatic allusion of her baby, her mother-in-law, herself and her husband stuck at sea with limited rations, no life jackets and land nowhere in sight.
Conniff convinces her husband Sherwin, played by Brian Carbine, to toss his mother into the ocean to save their family. The emotional back and forth melted into one another beautifully, creating a hysterical tragic game.
“Thinking up a New Name for the Act” portrayed a couple’s discussion, domestic abuse and the revenge from Lucy, the hysterical wife (Luna Alexander), resulting in her husband’s (Eric Hohnke) death. Lucy is interrogated, put on trial, then sent to her electrocution.
This was a funny and emotional piece performed using only three words, “Meat and Potatoes.”
The final act tells the tale of “Blind Willie and the Talking Dog.” Willie, played by Dan Johnson, hopes to make it big on his jazz voice while Barney, the talking dog (Brian Carbine), just wants to be heard and to stop hiding from everyone besides Willie. This is a look into the honest thoughts of two individuals who have only each other for companionship.
“Overall, I thought the show was very well done and put together,” junior Anthony Petrucci said. “The sketches were funny individually, but I thought they worked together to form a fantastic show.”