Campus Conversation

Amherst students work and play hard. At least that’s what they did last Wednesday night at the premiere of the Spring Beirut Shoot�Out, which took a tournament-style take on the popular drinking game. The brainchild of John Frechette ’02 and Bill Orum ’02, the competitive school-wide event was designed to crown a beirut champion once and for all. The much contested title went to Erich Schram ’03 and Ryan Faulkner ’03, who attended the tournament as beach goers, clad only in towels and swim goggles. “Every team was required to wear a team uniform,” said event organizer Frechette. “They ranged from … army dudes to Catholic school girls.” Beirut competitor Chris Herzog ’03 dressed as Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, sporting a t�shirt that read “Kiss Me, I’m Cuban,” and wearing a float around his waist.

But the spotlight was stolen from Schram and Faulkner by the unexpected antics of losing team Darce Swaggert ’01 and Erik Dinardo ’03. Swaggert and Dinardo had the misfortune of pulling a “Nudie.” Frechette explained that “a nudie is defined as a game in which one team gets shut out and does not sink any cups. They are then required to run though the party completely naked.”

“Nudies are standard beirut fare. People do nudies all the time,” Dinardo said. “But not at the school-wide Beirut tourney, and I was pretty nervous.”

Dinardo said that the experience wasn’t as bad as he anticipated. “During the actual nudie, Darce left about 30 seconds before me so everyone was expecting me. I felt like I was running in a marathon because there was a clear path that everyone was gathering around to see me run by .”

Speedy Shakespeare

“To be or not to be.” “Get thee to a nunnery.” When performed, these famous lines from “Hamlet” usually take place over the course of several hours; in Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of the play, “A 15-Minute Hamlet,” they are rattled off within 30 seconds.

But some thought it ran over 15 minutes: “It was 18 minutes of good good wiffle bat fun,” said Paul Reschke’04.

Last Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday Jeremy Basescu ’02 directed and hosted this innovative piece, which was performed on the freshman quad. The cast members consisted mostly of freshmen. “A decent number of people showed up [to auditions], but I knew the cast I wanted early on,” said Basescu. “I felt lucky to get them all.”

Rehearsals took place during the two months prior to the performances; outdoor rehearsals began April 15. Because of the unique framework of the play’s “stage”-encompassing the quad in front of Appleton (and a room inside Appleton), the space in front of Webster and the monument area on top of Memorial Hill-the weather played a major role in scheduling practices and performances. “I kept wishing I could make a deal with the heavens or something,” said Basescu. “As it turns out, we never had to cancel a rehearsal or a performance.”

The six cast members were Jaime Atteniese ’03, Nicholas Dahlman ’98 (the cast captain, as well as the microcomputer specialist at the Computer Center), Theodore Hertzberg ’04, Nate Powell ’04, Joe Rachiele ’04 and Conor O’Sullivan ’04. Rachiele played Hamlet, and each of the other actors took on multiple roles; Amy Salzman ’01 designed the costumes.

The fast-paced play progressed through the various scenes; Basescu directed the audience toward the appropriate viewing positions.

For the actors, the presence of an active audience enhanced the quality of the play. “We fed off the energy of the audience,” said O’Sullivan. “Their enthusiasm really helped us perform better.”