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Pudding Looks to Hollywood

Authors Hope Safari Recaptures '40s Opulence

By Matthew A. Light

The time? The 1940s. The place? Hollywood--the lavishly decadent capital of the movie industry, where the line between striking it rich and bankruptcy is thinner than the film in a reel.

Where does this decade still live on in all its sleazy splendor? At the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, where the six-member script selection committee has picked its 1991 production, Safari Sagoodi, by Lawrence E. Finer '91 and Jonathan R. Aibel '91.

The play, selected from a pool of six finalists, depicts "a rich era of scandal, triumph, defeat, and fun," gushed Pudding President Maurice A. Rocca '91, at the announcement of the selection committee's decision yesterday.

Safari, in keeping with Pudding requirements, is an all-male burlesque, written by undergraduates and casting exactly eight women and eight men characters in the entire play.

The story also fits comfortably into the Pudding's tradition of poking fun at a particular era or theatrical genre. However, the musical strikes new ground in its choice of the 1940s, a period which, according to Pudding officers, had never before fallen under the organization's satirical gaze.

"It's Hollywood's heyday," said Vice President Jason Tomarken '91.

"It was a fluffy, overdone era--one that's easy to exploit and blow out of proportion," explained Finer.

At yesterday's announcement, selection committee members heaped praise upon Safari.

"The show will be visually exciting. Everything will be very lavish, very slick, and very Puddingesque," said co-producer Ravin Agrawal '91.

Competition for the selection was particularly stiff this year, according to Sukwon T. Han '91, who co-produces shows for the Pudding. She attributed the popularity of this year's contest to the success of last year's musical, Suede Expectations, a story of time travel that was among the best-received Pudding productions in years.

Theater-goers will have to wait until opening night to find out what happens to the tottering movie studio of the story. But for the musical's writers, lolling in the slightly worn chairs of the Pudding's inner sanctum, the important things are settled: the $300,000 budget to make Safari as glitzy as the era it satirizes, and the pleasure of winning the contest.

"It'll be a kick to see the things we thought of on the stage," said Aibel.

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