Student talent came to life Friday night in Theater X at the first "Dark Side of the X" variety show.
The new weekly event, sponsored by the UNM Theatre and Dance Department, featured musical, dance, comedy and dramatic acts. It is a place for students to relax and watch their peers either make fools of themselves or wow the audience with innovative performances.
The ever-enigmatic student improvisational comedy troupe Surely You Jest introduced acts throughout the night and led the show.
The first performance was a dance group called Molodi, whose members consisted of Jason Nious, Juan Carlos Bagnell, Stephanie Farmer, Noudjal Gamougoun and Antawn Danes. They offered energetic, funky foot stomping and hand clapping moves. The group also featured vibrant personalities that set off its dancing with a light-hearted tone.
The next act was a solo performance by guitarist and singer Kevin Elder. His first song of a four-song set, "Kettering, Ohio," was about a Klu Klux Klan rally in a small Ohio town that was organized by one high school student. Elder said that was the "most disgusting thing he ever heard."
"Kettering, Ohio" is a protest song against racial intolerance. It had a folky beat and was, somehow, the brighter side to Elder's performance. The other three songs, one of which was a Velvet Underground cover, sounded eerily similar.
The highlight of the show was a dramatic piece performed by Will Klundt and Genevieve Garcia. The piece, written by Molodi member Bagnell, was a powerful scene of a woman confronting the bomber of an abortion clinic whose violence killed her husband. The woman's character is very antagonistic in the beginning because she wants the man who killed her husband to suffer, but the tables are neatly turned on her when the bomber asserts his own views about what her husband was doing. The moving scene ends with the woman walking away confused, upset and unsatisfied.
The last act was Surely You Jest member Andrew Talcott's band, Mugged By Bums. The band was insanely funny, with off-beat songs that made no sense. As lead singer, Talcott's performance was a mock display of rock stardom. After three songs, the audience doubled over in laughter, and members of Surely You Jest jumped around like crazed fans on the floor. The antics helped make the band's outlandish performance a success.
Surely You Jest members Talcott, Eli Keltz, Frank Calabretta, Christina Capobianco, Joseph West, Chris Payne, Aja Myers-Taylor and Aaron Nelson offered an improv performance to close the show. Their antics were the perfect ending to a great variety show.
"Dark Side of the X" is held every Friday at 10:30 p.m. in Theater X and is a free event.
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