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  • Writer's pictureBroadway Beat

Wuh Oh! Actors in the Show You're About to See Seem Like They're Gonna Touch You

by Allison Mintz. @allison_mintz.

COLUMBUS, OH - It certainly wasn’t "all smiles" at Swarthampton College’s Pippin - which was inexplicably set in a dentist’s office - as it became clear to audience members that the show’s actors were definitely, probably going to touch them. 

“I knew I made a mistake when we entered the theatre and there were cast members planted in the audience,” confessed audience member Zack Burkholder, who swears he’ll never sit in the front row ever again. “It was a really confusing choice, because in addition to him being in full period garb, he kept pretending to read the program? Then when the entire ensemble popped out from the back of the house during the overture, I knew I was definitely going to be weirdly tapped or something.” 

With attention spans shortening daily, directors are going to great lengths to keep audiences engaged - but this unexpected and sexually charged invasion of personal space had patrons wanting the show to be over in “just no time at all.”

“As 'Magic to Do' started playing, a bunch of the actors kept gesturing for me to take their hand, and honestly I thought I was going to die right then and there,” said Danny Barkley, audience member and now ex-boyfriend of a cast member. “It was one minute into the show, but all of their hands were sweaty like they’d just run marathons.”

He recalled a moment in the show where he felt specifically targeted. 

“There was this one guy who would come up to me, like, every other song and whisper all of the lyrics real close to my ear. But honestly, for me, the worst part was the cast’s confidence in what they were doing. Truly chilling.”

Sydney Lout, a freshman and unfortunate a cappella reject, expressed their concerns that directorial statements - such as unwanted audience interaction - may halt future theatergoers. 

“Whenever conservatives talk about wanting to cut funding for the arts, I’m always super upset, and then a show pulls some shit like this and it’s much harder to argue with them," explained Lout while shamefully recycling their program. “I don’t think anyone left the theatre tonight feeling confident that this ticket was a well-spent 35 dollars plus three dollar service fee.”

This overly physical production is actually a far cry from director Fredrick “Sunflower” Kuppensberg’s original concept for the show.

“When I pitched Pippin to the department, I had staged it as an orgy, which was shot down for some reason. But luckily, I think we were able to still were able to achieve that orgy vibe with the amount of touching the college allowed us to do.”

Swarthampton’s Theatre Department chair only had this to say on the matter:

“I’m taking a fucking sabbatical.”


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