Have you been living under a rock for the past month? Didn’t manage to get a ticket for the Yale Symphony Orchestra’s Halloween Show? Don’t worry — we have it all here for you in a nice neat package:
First off, costumes. This year, YSO-goers went all out with crazy outfits, but the get-ups that seemed the most clever and far-out actually turned out to be astoundingly trendy.
There were at least 13 versions of PSY, seven bananas, five Tom Hanks and Wilson couples, 12 Wall-Es and 12 Super Marios. Conventional Halloween costumes — witches, pumpkins, ghosts and all that jazz — were conspicuously lacking. In place of them were a handful of seriously commendable outfits. Just a shout-out to the guy who dressed up as a Solo cup, the guy with “budget ninja costume” written on his T-shirt and the girl who was simultaneously Mother Nature and an advertisement for UNICEF. But first prize definitely goes to the gigantic walking Yale ID card. Hands down!
The famed mainstay production of the night was anticipated by a dizzying sequence of orchestra members jumping up on stage in different disguises. First came the superheroes — Batman, Superman, Peter Pan. Then there was not one, but TWO Justin Biebers accompanied by an unidentifiable dancing green rectangle, followed by an enormous “Gangnam Style” parade led by an elated Boy Scout, Pacman, ninja turtles, School House Rock, the Addams family, “Where the Wild Things Are,” and just about a million other things.
The movie began with mashup of “Lost,” “Indiana Jones” and “The Hunger Games.” The scene then cut to Yale College Dean Mary Miller getting worked up over the Yale Secure network. Eventually, the plot culminated with a group of students who were stranded on a desert island. The students were convinced that Yale had disappeared, so they made their own model of it, featuring a tree with a bell hanging from it (Harkness Tower), a rocky cliff (Science Hill) and a hole in the sand (Bass Library). One girl mourns the loss of the university, wailing “Yaaaale!” before a guy cut her off, “She doesn’t even go here!” Another highlight was a drunk girl in run-down make up and torn Q-Pac T-shirt, who cried, “I thought that this was the bus going to Toad’s.”
The Ivy Coalition, which “includes all the most important institutions, including Cornell,” had stranded the students in protest of University President Richard Levin’s abandonment of the coalition. Levin had also mysteriously disappeared, and on the beach where the students were stranded were the remains of a secrete 13th college, which Levin called in one of the diary pages his biggest failure.” The stranded students were about to sign the deal with the Devil by accepting the Ivy Coalition’s proposal to join them in exchange for being saved from the island, but Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry came to the rescue in a classy motorboat. Turns out, he had been planning to trick the coalition all along by sending one student, who he knew would get stranded, on a bus to the remote and scary West Campus. He tells her, “I sent you on the bus because I knew you would stay true to Yale.”
And this seems to be just what the YSO movie for Halloween 2012 was all about. With its triumphant and heavily pop-culture-laden music, it teases just about everything about Yale. Yet the happy ending, with an instantaneous cameo from John McCain welcoming back the students as national heroes and Levin saying “Yale does not need the coalition […] the residential colleges are a coalition in themselves,” it strangely did not seem cheesy at all.
Correction: Nov. 1, 2012
An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled “Gangnam.”