Michael Schulman ’03 and Allysha Powanda ’03 want to make you hot. And they want to do it on ice.
On May 3, the seniors will give their final college performance in a show they spent all year creating — the first ever Yale Icecapades.
“To call it a variety show is not even doing it justice,” Powanda said. “It’s an extravaganza. The whole idea is a one-night-only spectacle that cannot be recreated. It’s like a really hot one-night stand that leaves you wanting more.”
But it doesn’t seem like there could be more packed into the hourlong show even if you wanted it. The Ingalls Rink extravanganza will feature Schulman and Powanda as hosts and actors, Whim ‘n Rhythm, the Yale Anti-Gravity Society, several other student performers and special guest stars — and a secret celebrity guest.
Schulman refused to divulge the identity of the mystery guest, but did volunteer, “He just lost an Oscar, so he needs something to fall back on.”
Similar secrecy shrouds the identity of an animal that will also appear on ice — most likely tied to a sled, Schulman said.
“I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a very special animal,” he said.
But not everyone — or everything — was eager to lace up for the Icecapades.
“We wanted to get Harold Bloom, but he turned us down,” Schulman said. “Actually, he wouldn’t even receive our phone calls.”
It’s unclear exactly what unites an animal tied to a sled, an Oscar loser, a cappella and juggling, but Schulman and Powanda don’t want to ruin the show by revealing the details.
“If there’s any theme it’s overcoming oppression and fascism by the human spirit,” Schulman said.
“And by good skating,” Powanda added. “I’d say it’s a triumphant piece. I mean, of course it is — it’s on ice.”
This ice-skating spectacular is not the first collaboration between the two seniors. Schulman and Powanda, who say they hope the show draws around 500 people, describe themselves as a Kevin Smith team, and have been working together since Schulman directed Powanda in a show during their freshman year. Since then, they have worked together often and last year began to plan a finale.
“We conceived the Yale Icecapades together one fateful night last spring,” Schulman said. “It’s more often that the one-night stand leads to conception than a conception leads to a one-night stand.”
The past year has given them time to sharpen their skating skills. While Powanda said she has a strong figure skating background, Schulman had some brushing up to do. Since the beginning of the school year, he’s been skating about three times a week at Ingalls Rink, he said, and Powanda’s been teaching him all he needs to know.
“I’ve been training heavily,” he said. “I’ve been learning spins, axels, all that figure skating stuff.”
Rehearsals have been held during public skating hours at the rink. Although they got Sudler funding for the show, most of the money has gone toward renting the rink for the performance and skate rental, leaving little left over for private rehearsal time on the ice.
Powanda and Schulman would like to put as many performers as possible on skates — including all 14 members of Whim ‘n Rhythm, who have the unenviable task of finding just the right cocktail dresses to match.
As late as this Tuesday, the duo was still dreaming up new plans.
“Let’s put DKE on ice,” Schulman said.
Powanda laughed. “That would be a triumph of the human spirit,” she said.
The show may seem bizarre, but the the actors are fine with that.
“It’s absurd, it’s over the top, but it’s classy,” she said. “And we’re very committed to it.”
The Icecapades — which will be performed after their senior projects — will be Schulman and Powanda’s last performances at Yale, and they said they like to think of it as a culmination of their Yale careers.
Assuming there is no long-term world tour following the success of this one-night-only spectacle (although they are hoping agents will be in attendance), both Schulman and Powanda will be in New York next fall, trying to make it in the theater business.
“We’re like pioneers in the icecapades field,” Powanda said. “Hopefully when we’re famous they’ll look back and this and say, ‘Remember when they started Yale Icecapades?'”
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