‘Shitty People’ makes audience laugh, groan

Contributing Writer
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Sam Moritz (left) and Leo Leonel (right) played James Van Handen and John Horner, two friends who get caught up in a scheme to fake the death of Horner's wife for sexual gain. CODY MILLER/THE CAMPUS
Masturbation, necrophilia and bestiality, topics usually excluded from polite conversation, highlighted the dialogue of We’re All Shitty People, a student-produced and directed play which premiered Friday night.

The racy play revolves around John Horner, played by Leo Leonel, ’12, and his ill-fated attempt to save face when his wife leaves him and moves to Australia. Horner decides that the best way to avoid being punished by his family-centered boss by telling him that his wife committed suicide. Though the play is based on a rather ominous concept, its humor and wordplay keep the atmosphere relatively light.

The dark humor highlighting the play resonates through dramatic twists such as the discovery of Mr. Horner’s friend James Van Handen, played by Sam Moritz, ’12, and his co-worker Genevieve Danfield, played by Lauren Farruggia, ’12, making love in a casket.

We’re All Shitty People’s humor was not only dark but also played off of the emotions of the audience by touching upon topics usually considered taboo. We’re All Shitty People was able to draw the audience in by making them vulnerable due to their discomfort with the unusual topics. This connection with the audience was apparent as the audience hooted and hollered at all the appropriate, or better, inappropriate, moments.

Director Andrew Copenhaver, ’13, experienced a bit of awkwardness while working on the play. Copenhaver had the unusual experience of directing his girlfriend, Faruggia, as Genevieve in her romantic scenes with Sam Moritz.

“The first few nights were really uncomfortable,” Copenhaver said. “At the same time, I hoped that Sam would take it professionally and I knew that Lauren was taking it professionally, and I tried to be as professional as a result, but that didn’t make it any less uncomfortable. It gets to the point where you kind of just have to roll with it. But that’s the least of your worries when you’re watching the play and hoping nothing crashes and burns.”

One scene in which Moritz and Farruggia discuss the telltale signs of a women faking an orgasm stood out as particularly funny. The scene begins with a dark stage and the sounds of squeaking bed springs. Light fades in as Moritz and Farruggia share a post-coital cuddle and cigarette. Although this is a rather cliche set-up, the dialogue regarding Moritz’s “batting averages” in relation to his pleasing of women was fresh and hilarious.

I personally felt a bit awkward at parts due to the bawdy humor. However, the fact that the play was able to affect me in this way speaks to its success.

Overall, the play was cohesive and very humorous. The audience responded very well to the timing, banter and chemistry of the actors. For me, We’re All Shitty People earns a 3.5/5 possible stars.