On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Large Sport Week, Stanford college students gathered in Memorial Auditorium for probably the most anticipated theatrical performances of the yr — Gaieties 2022. Full with hilarious Stanford jokes, romance and up to date headlines comparable to William Curry and the ‘Stanford Hates Enjoyable’ protests, “Cardinal Sin” didn’t disappoint.
Because the curtain is drawn, 4 devious Cal college students are revealed. Their mission? Banish all of the Stanford college students to hell to allow them to’t make it to the Large Sport. Intelligent, sure. However will it work?
After a couple of traces of gibberish, the Satan (Skye Lyles ’25) emerges. She states that one good Stanford pupil is sufficient to save the Cardinal from everlasting damnation. The present that follows is a trial by which two college students — Mo (Sheruni Pilapitiya ’26) and Davina (Jae Sobers ’25) — are accused of dormcest and banished to hell. As the buddies and lovers journey via the layers of hell, they discover ways to construct wholesome friendships and be true to themselves, all whereas having comical encounters (comparable to convincing an athlete to interrupt up together with her backpack).
Each Mo and Davina performed relatable younger grownup characters. Mo needed to slot in and provides in to see stress, whereas Davina needed to overcome self-obsession and overconfidence to have the ability to help her pals.
The Satan, performed by Lyles, was really the star of the present. Her highly effective solos, agency dialogue and assured gait mixed to create an intimidating and mighty character. Different notable demonstrations of expertise included the really wonderful faucet dancing by Taylor (Mack Jones ’26) and Backpack (Henry Cargill ’26), in addition to charming musical compositions paying homage to a Disney-Broadway combine.
Nonetheless, there have been clear coordination issues with ensembles: some dance numbers have been out of sync, and the presence of a number of simultaneous storylines within the first act derailed continuity.
Two highlights of the present turned out to be the present’s principal traditions: the cameo of Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne because the god of Stanford Heaven and the “Bare Run.” Tessier-Lavigne’s dialogue was drowned out by the viewers chanting “Stanford Hates Enjoyable,” which finally led to him proclaiming “Thou shalt have enjoyable.” As for the latter, individuals did bare cartwheels; now that requires some next-level confidence.
All through the efficiency, every time two characters (or perhaps a character and an object) shared the stage in shut proximity, viewers members would yell “Make out!” / “Hug!” / “Kiss!,” a lot in order that the Satan began calling out to the viewers with improvised dialogue: “Who retains shouting ‘make out’? Woman, that’s for Friday.” This spontaneity led to elevated viewers engagement and made the present extra pleasing total whereas showcasing the appearing expertise of the Satan.
The plot was robust all through, aside from a slight drag within the center. The ending, with the characters’ discovery that there was no Stanford pupil free from sin, was anticlimactic however healthful. “You all suck,” the satan confirmed. But, she continued, “the hundreds and hundreds of Stanford college students added collectively do make one good individual.” So, in a joyous flip of occasions, the Stanford college students make it out of hell and to the Large Sport.
Upon getting into Memorial Auditorium, college students have been met with a complete listing of viewers agreements. The numbered listing included “I cannot enter the Gaieties if I’m black out [drunk],” and “I cannot scream ‘Make Out!!!!’ excessively through the present.” As sober observers, we dubiously repeated the bullet factors.
The theater vibrated with the din of early 2000s anthems. Women sang, shimmied and screamed down from the balcony, whereas boys made gorilla sounds and roared. Friday’s “Row Night time” was particularly crammed with rowdy, light-hearted banter and had an viewers of fraternities, a cappella teams, sports activities groups and past. Sadly, the identical noisy viewers paired with poorly executed sound design made giant elements of the dialogue tough to listen to.
Every night time of the Gaieties served its goal. Frosh Night time launched newcomers to the weird world of Stanford (and theater) by breaking the beforehand held stereotypes that latest highschool graduates would possibly harbor about their “dream college”; Press Night time stored the Large Sport hype afloat regardless of many Stanford-specific jokes not hitting dwelling with the viewers; Row Night time gave upperclassmen an opportunity to unwind post-midterms and to vent their frustrations via mockery and humor.
Nonetheless, Gaieties fails as a secure area for all; viewers peer stress continues to place actors in uncomfortable positions and compromise the stream of the supposed story. Particularly on Frosh Night time, the gaudiness of the humor was visibly uncomfortable and borderline inappropriate, making the viewing expertise awkward at occasions.
In the long run, “Cardinal Sin” was under no circumstances a refined theatrical masterpiece. It was at its coronary heart a comedic tackle the tutorial and social tradition at a hyper-competitive college. Whereas a number of attendees remarked that this yr’s occasion was tamer in comparison with previous ones, the chaotic college spirit definitely didn’t appear muted to first-time contributors. The music, the dancing, the sketchy humor and the shock cameos all served as instruments to convey out the raucousness and immaturity sudden of a typical Stanford pupil.
At Stanford, the stress to be excellent permeates pupil life. The absurd assumption of mental efficiency was put away for just some hours at Gaieties — one of many college’s few areas the place errors are usually not prison. Jokes flopped, and other people cheered their pals on anyway. Group was fostered within the present, baking satire into the kitschy skits. Most significantly, the narrative revealed one thing basic about each pupil in attendance: that they have been now half of a big, imperfect household, and that it’s utterly potential to discover a sense of belonging in it whereas staying true to oneself.
Editor’s Be aware: This text is a evaluate and contains subjective ideas, opinions and critiques.