(20 years of) Harold Night Highlights 10/3/17

Each performer got to share a memory of their time on Harold Night. Three different people told stories about the same Harold performer (who was not there, and whom I will only identify by the initials G.O.). One story was about him farting and two were about how he liked to for-real spit into his hand before miming masturbation onstage.

7:30 pm

Team: Ruining the Party
Performers: Brian Faas, Arthur Mayer, Morgan Miller, Monique Moses, Christine Nangle, Dan Powell, Johnna Scrabis, Charlie Todd
Suggestion: Exclamation point
Opening: Scene Painting
Blackout line: “It’s me, Steve Guttenberg!”

The museum of Johannes Gutenberg and Steve Guttenberg, operated in a basement by the kindly but perhaps nefarious older neighbor (Christine Nangle) of a young boy (Charlie Todd). The museum was closed down by the state but its animatronic robots (Dan Powell, Brian Faas) became all-powerful and all-knowing and lived on a lawn next to a sentient printing press (Johnna Scrabis).

Monique Moses as an exasperated teacher dealing with a jerk-wad kid (Morgan Miller) and his family that sits weird

A drum circle is released from its cage, only to happily continue drumming instead of turning on its captors

Young Kyle must choose between his two first-grade teachers, one who is pregnant and one who wants to be his mommy (“It’s like I’m pregnant with you!”)

Arthur Mayer, later revealed to be Steve Guttenberg, shopping at an Ikea where you have to have seen something before in order to buy it: “I was at that apartment, saw that same thing.”

Johnna Scrabis, as a douchey golfer referring to the female office workers being held in a cage nearby: “This might be my male privilege talking, but they look pretty happy to me.”

Team: The Good Gulf War
Performers: Andy Bustillos, Caroline Cotter, Alex Dickson, James Dwyer, Kevin Mullaney, Achilles Stamatelaky, Erik Tanouye, Christine Walters
Suggestion: Stanley Cup
Opening: The Invocation*
Blackout move: Alex punching Kevin in the dick

*Asking for the audience to suggest an opening, then having that audience member explain the opening and doing it exactly as described (“I am,” “You are,” “It is,” in that order)

Tanouye (after an opening that mentions toxic masculinity): “We’ve been having complaints about your level of masculinity.”

Kevin Mullaney, giggling: “Oooh! What are they saying???”

All toxic masculinity beats, including everything Mullaney did, Tanouye sitting on the back of his chair in order to be pushed over, Achilles making sure Tanouye landed okay after pushing him over, and Achilles trying to get Mullaney to for-real punch him in the dick

James Dwyer “flipping out”

Andy Bustillos’s omelet object work

Two blasé mortuary workers whose job it is to jerk off semen-filled bodies. One is the main jerker, the other the “tip-tapper.”

The entrance of a semen-filled body (not the one the workers were talking about)

The rambunctious New York Rangers group game, including the meta discussion of wanting to talk about the original problem, but feeling the need to stay on the main, new problem that has arisen (“Guys, we’re the New York Rangers. We could probably talk about the main problem and the sub-problem”)

9:00 pm

Team: Scootchin’ Pooters (later referred to as Scootchy Pooters)
Performers: Lauren Conlin Adams, JD Amato, Erin Chan (nee Erin Rose Foley), Zach Cherry, Terry Jinn, Billy Merritt, Clara Morris, Patrick Noth
Suggestion: Carnivore
Opening: Pattern Game
Blackout line: “No, we’re not [whispered ‘fucking’] with you.”

Lauren Conlin Adams: “How many calories does a shark eat in a day?”
Zach Cherry: “My wife prefers I not say.” (His wife is a shark.)

Billy Merritt as Jimmy Buffet: “You need to build a nest of salad, in which to lay eggs of happiness.”

Terry Jinn as a sad king who loses his very tiny kingdom, his crown, and is forced to marry the king who conquered him

George Washington (Erin Rose Foley), angry at himself for buying his wooden teeth at a shop called “Sawdust ’n’ Such”

All of the beats with the children (JD Amato, Patrick Noth, Zach Cherry, Lauren Conlin Adams) trying to get away with adult things, with Clara Morris as the pitch-perfect voice-of-reason bartender and real estate agent

JD Amato, as a child trying to buy a house: “How many checks is this house?”

Team: Centipede (named by the audience)
Performers: Shawtane Bowen, Lindsay Calleran, Sue Galloway, Michael Hartney, Kevin Hines, Aaron Jackson, Jackie Jennings, Risa Sang-urai
Suggestion: Genome
Opening: Documentary
Blackout line: “What do you see? I can’t see from up here!”

A put-upon kindergartner (Risa Sang-urai) being rescued by his father (Kevin Hines), who built a working helicopter out of Lincoln Logs and Scotch tape

Sue Galloway and Lindsay Calleran as a couple of fucking weirdos. Honestly these two were just a match made in heaven.

Sue Galloway: “It’s not low-fat cream cheese. But I’ll tell you my secret for low-fat: just put a little less on.” And Jackie Jennings, several minutes later, being so blown away by this advice she has to leave.

Michael Hartney as a gnome, drinking a bowl of rain water and hitting on a very polite woman (Shawtane Bowen)

The gnome doing Escape the Room and chanting a dimensional portal into existence

Aaron Jackson and Jackie Jennings as very attractive scientists who have grown a “fully science” human being named Cedric on the back of a pig. This group game was incredibly ridiculous and funny and I cannot believe it stayed on the tracks.

10:30 pm (11:20 pm)

Team: Montage
Performers: Adrian Frimpong, Birch Harms, Betsy Kenney, Leslie Meisel, Doug Moe, Marshall Stratton, Molly Thomas, Keisha Zollar
Suggestion: Bowtie
Opening: Sound and Movement
Blackout line: “Who cut your hair???”

Keisha Zollar’s A-list actress doing a downstairs sound check: “It’s like throat singing.”

Birch Harms’s actor later doing a similar sound check, and all he can muster is a “Hoo-boy!” (back line sfx courtesy of Marshall Stratton)

Grandma (Betsy Kenney) trying to hook up her dying friend (Leslie Meisel) with her grandson (Marshall Stratton)

Doug Moe, as an actor in You’ve Got Mail 2, which now has a safari theme for some reason: “Oh, a tiger sent me an email!”

Molly Thomas, to Doug’s frat guy who likes to hang out at nursing homes: “Sir, that’s too many darts.”

The joyous bedlam that erupted after Adrian Frimpong’s student mildly insulted the substitute teacher’s shirt: People were dancing, throwing things, either humping the floor or trying to do the worm, at one point a wheelchair appeared onstage…

Same bedlam later at the company populated exclusively by Dirkenses, where the bedlam ended with everyone doffing their top hats in unison

Team: (no name given, it was pretty late)
Performers: Brandon Gardner, Chris Gethard, Jesse Lee, Shannon O’Neill, Jim Santangeli, Josh Sharp, Alex Song, Sarah Grace Welbourne
Suggestion: Lace-Ups
Opening: None/Organic/Find the Form
Blackout line: “Fluffy, you’re in hell with the rest of us!”
Standing ovation from the crowd!

After the suggestion “lace-ups,” the performers leaned down and tied each of their shoes to someone else’s shoes (for real) in a Twister-esque pile. From there they figured out the rules as they went. First beats were intentionally set in places or situations that would play with the reality of being tied together: an entire family at their patriarch’s appointment with a heart doctor, needing to get things from the car, including their dog Fluffy; another family shopping for shoes they must try on, including a son (Sarah Grace Welbourne) dying to wear flip-flops in the winter; a President’s son (Chris Gethard) mad that he’s constantly surrounded by Secret Service agents. Edits were done organically, with a clear initiation to establish a new beat, and performers lied down on the floor (still tied to the rest of the group) when they weren’t “in the scene.”

At the end of the first beats, the President’s son popped out of his shoes and thus accidentally “escaped” the group and went to the back line, leaving him to sweep-edit coming beats.

The first group game got a little meta, with a mother (Shannon O’Neill) lamenting that her son Christopher had died earlier that day; all she was left with was his shoe.

During the second beats, as characters died (starting with Jesse Lee’s patriarch having a heart attack), the performers would leave their shoes and go to the back line.

The second group game left just four performers (Shannon, Brandon Gardner, Jim Santangeli, Alex Song) tied together in a row with their backs to the audience, getting ready to perform the musical “Chicago” for an audience of a thousand people (although, as Alex pointed out, “I feel like the two people yelling are the two who know the least about ‘Chicago’”).

The third beat featured Brandon and Alex as detectives staring at the evidence (empty shoes) on the ground and trying to figure out how all the previous characters had died, and Shannon offering up eye-witness testimony which the detectives disregarded because it “wasn’t as fun” as trying to figure it out themselves. A tag-out run ensued in which various witnesses described seeing the deaths; every time someone tagged in, they had to step into Shannon’s shoes.

This scene was swept and everyone came back into their shoes, tipping over each other and eventually ending up in a pile downstage left, with Fluffy the dog barking pitifully in the constrained hell of the performers’ own making.