The YSO halloween show is my favorite tradition in all of Yale. Woolsey Hall was packed to capacity with students in elaborate costumes. I was excited. We were excited.
This year’s show, called “Midnight in New Haven,” had a lot to live up to, because last year’s show was awesome. Though “Midnight” failed to equal its predecessor’s great heights, it certainly had its moments.
“Midnight” follows hapless Yalie Alex Vourtsanis ’14. As the Yalie is stuck on an impossible paper for his class “Yale and the Universe,” he finds a book about the history of Yale, and after falling asleep at midnight while eating a Wenzel, wakes up 100 years earlier in Yale history. In the fashion of this summer’s Woody Allen blockbuster “Midnight in Paris,” the main character, Alex, meets titans of Yale’s past, real and fictional, everyone from singer Cole Porter to Fitzgerald protagonist Nick Carraway. Though he loves the past at first, two scumbags steal his book of Yale history and plot to destroy the college. We later learn that these villains are none other than Harvard and Princeton.
The Yale in this alternate universe has no wenzels. Ouch. Everyone wears red. The study hours are quiet and rigid. Eventually, boy meets girl (Claire Solomon ’14), and together they save Yale from this horrible future.
“Midnight” suffered from a nebulous plot that didn’t have much direction or even a story until a half hour in. Although there were comical scenes in the film that were successful of Alex playing beer pong, the sketchiness of Alpha Delta delivering the many wenzels and a well-executed “all roads lead to Toad’s” joke, the movie didn’t make much sense. The multiple aspects of the plot were not drawn together until the end of the film, breaking up the narrative of the silent film.
There were also various inconsistencies that took away from the film. The scenes in the past, although they were supposed to take place post-midnight, were frequently during the daytime. Vourtsanis’ facial hair also mysteriously grew and shrunk between the scenes, and saw its height during the middle of the film. Also this ancient Yale had many female graduates and members, which I’m pretty sure didn’t happen until about 50 years after this movie apparently took place.
Still, the show was a success. The score was played wonderfully by the YSO, including recognizable pop standards like the Black Eyed Peas’ “I’ve Got a Feeling” and Allen Sherman’s “Hello Mother, Hello Father.” It was beautifully produced, warmly nostalgic and had the BEST CAMEO OF ALL TIME. Woody Allen made an appearance in the film, along with the current Whiffenpoofs, Provost Peter Salovey, Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry, and Yale College Dean Mary Miller.
“I loved it,” said Scott McCreary ’12, star of last year’s YSO Halloween show. “It made me happy to go to Yale.”
Despite the show’s pitfalls, I’m with McCreary. I was screaming along with the audience when Allen appeared on screen, danced at the end and came out of Woolsey with renewed Yale pride. Boola Boola.