Phoenix Theatre is full of laughs at SOTA’s comedy night

By Farah Bassyouni Feb 17, 2023

Saturday, Feb. 11, was a busy night for the Registered Student Organizations of The School of Theatre Arts. Jay Hopkins and John Hunter’s comedic romp “The Iliad, The Odyssey, and all of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less.” This was directed by junior Ryan Domalewski. Comprised of an ensemble of five actors, the company swiftly moved through some of Greece’s greatest myths and legends, changing characters in the blink of an eye to create the vast array of mortals, demigods, gods and monsters in the stories, a testament to the skill of all five. 

None truly shined brighter than seniors Lea Halsey and Will Dusek, whose expert comedic timing won the day for the two actors. Portraying such characters as the bro-ey Diomedes, an unbothered Achilles, a Russian Hercules and the Dr. Evil-esc Zeus, Dusek and Hulsey led sophomore Lucy Harmon and first-years’ Kaity Jones and Ecaterina Cuznetova to a victory on par with those of the warriors of Sparta. 

“[My favorite part of this production] was imagining if Zeus was played by Dr. Evil and Achilles by Napoleon Dynamite. And just playing up there. It was really fun that we could keep that energy in the final show. It was a blast,” Dusek said. 

Following “The Iliad, The Odyssey, and all of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less” was “Stand Up Night,”, presented by Quickies Sketch Comedy and JM7 Improv Troupe in the Art Building at 10:00 PM. The offering gave seven aspiring young comics an opportunity to tell a couple of jokes and tell hilarious anecdotes to an eager audience. The four comics who truly stood out to this author were junior Evan Carlson, senior Lea Hulsey, junior Olivia Finkelstein and senior Andy Taylor. 

With a story about a middle school summer romance and a song about smoked paprika, it was a set that rang with the charm of North Carolina that many have come to associate with Carlson. A breakaway from the story formats of the other sets, Hulsey’s comedy was centered on one-off, written jokes, a delightful return to the classic comic of yesteryear. 

Finkelstein’s clever setups, centered around self-proclaimed “boy humor,” perfectly complemented the sweet countenance of Finkelstein herself and gave her stories a better payoff at her set’s conclusion. Finally Taylor’s anecdote about a psych eval showed that going to the doctor can produce hilarious results. 

Overall, SOTA’s evening of comedy was an unmitigated success, and an event I hope is not the last of its kind. It’s rare to have two events line up in such a harmonious fashion, and I believe it was to the benefit of both. 

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