164th Pudding Offers Apocalyptic Farce
After months of preparation, the Pudding has produced a script for its next adventure—this time, in a prehistoric, apocalyptic, time-traveling extravaganza. The 164th production of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals (HPT), “There Will Be Flood,” will attempt to dazzle the crowd with spellbinding love, redemption, and mission to save the world.
The challenge of besting 163 previous productions lies with three writers this year, a divergence from the regular two. Brandon J. Ortiz ’12, Ethan D. Hardy ’14—also cast members—and Matthew E. Whitaker ’12 face high expectations. As the trio developed the plot for this year’s production they realized this just might be the last HPT ever made with the prophetic Mayan Apocalypse approaching in 2012. “We figured out what would click with the audience in 2012, and a world-ending apocalyptic prophecy worked,” says Ortiz. The show will feature a group of time travelers who go back one zillion years to prevent the prophecy from being made at all. In the distant past, the world’s supposed saviors encounter a cast of wacky characters including witless cavemen and false prophets.
In Pudding drag tradition the ensemble will consist of 12 male members portraying six male and six female characters. Although the story arc follows a central character, every one of the 12 characters will get equal stage time. To illustrate a typical character, Hardy explains: “If Gandalf was also Bea Arthur from the Golden Girls, now that’s a Pudding character!” The motley crew of personalities from a multitude of time periods will leave no politically incorrect stone unturned, since as Ortiz points out, “You have the ability to offend with the Pudding, unlike other productions.”
One such potentially offensive character is Angela Foodcake, a chubby angel who falls in love with a painter. Her musical numbers include a Sinatraesque duet with her lover entitled “Crushed by an Angel.” The show’s tunes, with lyrics by Ortiz and a score by Benjamin K. Moss ’13, span a variety of styles, including jazz, Broadway musical, and rap. Ortiz hopes that the music will boast a “fast paced, high energy, and fun style.”
No matter how fantastical the characters may be, Ortiz, Hardy and Whitaker claim that the show remains contemporary and relatable. Ortiz describes Eve Olusion, a character who “after eating an apple from the tree of knowledge, doesn’t believe in creationism and becomes an evolutionist.”
HPT, which begins rehearsing during January break, expects to perform 40 shows in Cambridge. As the show progresses through its constant seven-shows-a-week schedule, the script itself will stay anything but constant. The writers will be ready to add relevant pop culture references as they emerge. Ortiz says that the script will contain jokes about the presidential primaries as well as other current events occurring right up to the night of the show.
With only one word to describe this year’s show, both Hardy and Ortiz thought of the same word: “zany … with 4 zs.” Ortiz said, “there will be more than a joke every second … you will laugh.”