College freshman Amelia Storck lives at the Quadrangle and from her dorm room, she frequently hears the Mask & Wig Club rehearsing for their fall production.
The rehearsals had begun a day after the club held their auditions in August and last night was the opening show. And for all the rehearsals she’s heard, Storck finally saw the whole Mask & Wig crew perform live last night.
“I hear a lot about them on campus so it’s good to finally be able to see them for the first time,” she said.
This semester’s show, titled “Tights, Camera, Action!”, was directed by College and Engineering senior Isaac Wenger. The production was sprinkled with political satire, film parodies, intentional gender-mockery and Gangnam-inspired choreography. At one point, several Wiggers ran on stage, dressed and acting like grade school kids half their real age.
“The Mask & Wig Club does a very specific kind of humor,” said College senior Jonah Meyerson, “and we do it only for the people who get it.”
“The performance was great, the humor sometimes I miss, but I think it’s quite enjoyable,” Tom Sisson, father of Engineering junior and crew member Tommy Sisson, said.
Gary Romano, father of cast-member Patrick Romano, a College freshman, said, “the show was hysterical and they’re keeping their tradition of spoofing everyone and everything!”
The performance was held at the Iron Gate Theatre on 37th and Chestnut streets, where the annual fall shows are usually held.
Mask & Wig was formed in 1888 by a small group of Penn undergraduates who were interested in stage but had no proper outlet for their artistic pursuits. It is completely autonomous and is one of Penn’s premiere extracurricular activities on campus and is limited to an all-male cast. In spring each year, the club takes its annual production to various local and international destinations. Club members create all aspects of the show from scratch — everything from writing the script, building the props and lighting to composing the music and putting lyrics to the songs.
The first time the band and the cast put “Tights, Camera, Action!” together was over fall break this Monday, October 22. Wenger said the biggest challenge of the show was pulling all the different parts together since before Monday, all the sections had been operating by themselves.
“But all the section heads were very professional, all the guys in the sections are very talented and we managed to pull it all together without killing each other,” he said.
College senior Ryan Dew, Chairman of the club, plays the trumpet in the Mask & Wig band. “We slept four hours every night and everyone is exhausted but they picked up the energy for the show,” he said. “They’re a remarkable bunch of guys.”
“This year’s show is hilarious and is the tip of the iceberg,” said former Mask & Wig Chairman, 2012 College graduate Alon Gur, who attended the opening night. He said that his experience at the club never really went away and it taught him to communicate with people on a whole new level.
“It’s always a privilege to see these shows after knowing how much hard work and soul is put into it.”
Five more shows will be put on this weekend. Tickets will be sold along Locust Walk everyday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at the door.