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The Dartmouth
May 27, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Nasser '08 authors a night of one-acts at the Hop

The posters for "Short, Sweet and Supernormal" feature a large erect phallus pointing at the title of the show. When I asked director Avni Shah '07 what the illustration had to do with the performance, she smiled knowingly.

"Can you find the penis?" she yelled to a nearby stage manager.

Our interview was momentarily put on hold as the stage manager rummaged around backstage looking for "the penis." When it was eventually found -- an oversized wooden contraption complete with cartoon sperm and testicular wool -- my first question was "What's the built-in squirt gun for?"

Shah laughed and answered, "Between you and me, don't sit in the row right over there."

To find out which row she was pointing to, check out "Short, Sweet and Supernormal: A Night of Plays and Lassis," playing in the Bentley Theater at the Hopkins Center on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. The show consists of seven short plays by Latif Nasser '08.

"This is a very unusual thing," Shah asid. "It's one of the first times [a student playwright] has had a night of all their own work."

Shah worked closely with Nasser to decide which of Nasser's many one-act plays would be most compatible for an evening of theater. Among the selections are "Maple Syrup," about two old friends arguing over their respective syrup preferences; "Pearls," a farcical satire of male homophobia; and "If," a portrait of personality destruction.

Though there's not much casting overlap between the various shorts, Shah explained that all the plays are thematically connected.

"They all have different settings, but they're all about relationships," she said.

The centerpiece of the evening is "Seedy," a comedy set in a fertility clinic. Shah declined to give away much of the plot, other than to say that, "it's about the art of artificial reproduction" It's also the play in which the aforementioned penis makes its appearance.

Shah described the experience of directing the show as "more fun than anything I've ever done," but praised the contributions of her "brilliant" playwright.

"This is Latif's unveiling to the Dartmouth community," she said. "This is his debut in a sense. I think he's really talented, but now you get to decide."

Does she think the show is ready to go? I asked.

"Oh definitely. It's in really good shape, very clean." she said.

Clean?

"Well, what it's about isn't necessarily clean," Shah added hastily. "It's not for the faint of heart."