“It’s … a man!” Eve gasps, contorting her face into an expression so silly that it’s nearly impossible to keep from letting out a giggle or two.
In the Yale Cabaret’s production of “The Apple Tree,” performances of which will be held at 8 and 11 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, Adam is, in fact, a man, and Eve a woman, in the stereotypical sense. The humor of the show comes across as quite stale, and at times, insensitive to Yalie ears, but the vivacity and talent of the cast make the overall experience of watching the performance worthwhile.
“The Apple Tree” debuted in 1966 and features three acts in total, each based on different well-known tales while exploring similar themes of desire. Each act can stand on its own, and the Yale Cabaret has chosen to put on the first act, which is based on Mark Twain’s “The Diary of Adam and Eve.” The show is associated with some big names other than Twain, as well: Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, the men responsible for “The Fiddler on the Roof,” wrote the book.
Although the date of the show’s debut might warrant resignation regarding the dialogue, some of the jokes are a bit too jarring to look past. When Adam first considers Eve’s worth, he references Eve’s beauty; and to delve even deeper, follows that realization with a wish that she would be quiet for a minute or two. The joke received some expected cackles from the audience, but the girls sitting on opposite sides of me tensed slightly and shifted in their seats in unison with me. Eve is consistently talkative and persistent; Adam is averse to contact and a bit dim-witted — he glances at fish and decides they are all “swimmers,” while Eve insists that they all have unique names, she just knows it! The stereotypical character tropes prevailed throughout — at times, it felt as if the construction of Adam and Eve’s characters were solely rooted in expectation. What were Eve’s primary motivations? Probably male attention. Is Adam initially void of all emotional intelligence? You guessed it.
But the show produced as many genuine giggles as it did forced ones: each cast member exhibited loads of charisma and talent, which resulted in many outbursts of uproarity from the audience. Danilo Gambini DRA ’20, the actor who played Adam, smashed his Cabaret debut with his obvious talent for comedy and silly representation of male fragility. The Snake, Erron Crawford DRA ’19, was as smooth as could be, and left an impression despite his brief sojourn on stage, and Eve, played by Courtney Jamison DRA ’18, was warm, exuberant and provided a week’s worth of energizing smiles for the audience. The technical aspects of the show were simple but effective, as the minimalistic set and lighting design allowed the performers to shine uninterrupted.
In one song, Eve compares loving Adam to learning to prefer the taste of spoiled milk. “The Apple Tree” is also a bit like Eve’s spoiled milk — the humor has been sitting in the fridge for a bit too long, and tastes a little bit off as a result, but the talent involved in the Yale Cabaret’s delivery allows for the consumption of a glass or two.
Contact Rianna Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org .