Happy 2024 Cantab poets! We celebrated the last Wednesday of 2023 with a show that was as equally cozy as it was surprisingly off-kilter. The open mic welcomed back Charlie V, Cam, and Dank The Poet after long absences, buzzed with a pair of moving personal pieces from Daniel Letona and Logan Lopez, and even swerved into some great NSFW material (no, really) from Kat Anderson and newcomer Sara S. Special shout out to Sara H for reading the best “country western lesbian romance” poem we’ve heard all year!
Our big themed feature of the evening was our second annual POETRY THEATRE night. Last year, we had two now-infamous long-form plays (Raechel Segal’s Diva In Development and Michael F. Gill’s I’m Using The Chicken To Measure It), but this year we had an ensemble cast of 8 poets perform 15 mini-plays back-to-back, with the audience choosing the order in which they were performed!
Did you miss it, or want to re-live it? Settle in, here’s a brief description of each play!
“One Last Elegy For Some People In My Phone” – Performers talk about someone in their phone contacts one last time before deleting their number in front of the audience.
“Mona Lisa Pictionary” – Jennifer Martinez starts drawing the Mona Lisa on stage, but everyone on her team somehow guesses the wrong thing, despite each guess being somewhat plausible.
“Emily Dickinson Puppet Show” – Emily’s poem I’m Nobody – Who Are You performed as a conversation between two puppets!
“The Great Re-Enactment” – Michael and TJ have a discussion about the Barbie movie that is (poorly) live-transcribed by s.m. DECKER. DECKER then texts their warped transcription to Michael and T.J., who then re-enact the discussion, with each person playing the part of the other person.
“I AM INTROVERT” – Two puppets (March Penn and s.m. DECKER) loudly d!scuss how introverted they are, creating an introvert storm.
“Genre Laughter” – Michael commands the cast to perform different types of laughter, including a laugh for “I’m on a date, this person is attractive, but I don’t like their jokes at all” and “I don’t know why this is funny, but I’m going to laugh because everyone else is laughing”
“57 Seconds” – A play where everyone (including the audience) tries to guess when 57 seconds have elapsed, without going over. The winner (Logan Lopez) got $20!
“The Sound of Almond Milk Being Poured vs The Sound of Regular Milk Being Poured vs The Sound of Coconut Milk Being Poured” – Michael pours milks in a glass, so a blindfolded March knows what they sound like. He then quizzes March on which milk the final pour could be. At the same time, a person from the milk lobby (s.m. Decker) is furious and declares all non-dairy milks should not legally be able to be called milk.
“Space Is the Place” – March Penn leads everyone in an exploration of poetry as space, and how poets find the space in their lives to write, while the rest of the cast whisper the title as they slowly walk around the room.
“The Picnic” – A longer play by T.J. Jones that involves, among other things, a set of gods and mortals having a picnic, and how to find the right types of dates and hummus while you are living out your one and only life.
“Unwritten” – A micro meta play about a play that’s unwritten, except for one repeated line (“Staring / at the blank page before you“) from Natasha Bedingfield’s song Unwritten.
“Walking City Mystic” – An extended excerpt from a play by Eddy Martinez, involving his Renard character. In this scene, Renard and his roommate Grimbart are trying to write a craigslist post for an empty room in their apartment, despite 1) the room constantly changing its size, 2) Renard’s dreams keep on dictating the content of the post, and 3) Grimbart accidentally breaks the fourth wall.
“Monotony” – Michael rhythmically chants about how the opposite of monotony is interruption, while T.J. sings, and the rest of the cast randomly shouts “INTERRUPTION!” from different places in the room.
“Guided Meditation For Aspiring Capitalists” – Michael leads everyone in a group meditation on how to choose the right investment for your venture capital, and how to create a product that is so irresistible that a customer would willingly give up all their personal data to use it.
“Protesting The Date Of This Cantab Feature” – T.J. is very upset that this feature is happening on one of the shortest nights of the year, and aims to correct this by extending the show by the amount of daylight that was taken away from him.
Major kudos to all the performers for giving us such a fun night to close the year on! And a round of applause to Sara H for lovingly heckling us in-between plays! For posterity, the performers were: March Penn, Shawn Dermer, s.m. DECKER, T.J. Jones, Jack Chasse, Eddy Martinez, Jennifer Martinez, and Michael F. Gill.
Quick website note: if you weren’t able to get a physical copy of the latest issue of our zine (The Cantabernacle) it is now available in digital format! Many thanks to Kat Gunther for doing the graphic design and layout. Please send over your submissions for the next issue!
Our first show of 2024 is just around the corner, and we’ve not only got a feature from the awesome syan jay, but also a pre-show writing workshop with open mic regular Kaitie Dilán! Entry to the 6:30 PM workshop will be $10-$15 sliding scale, while the regular 8:00 PM show will be our normal cover of $4. Please prepare accordingly!
In Kaitie’s workshop, we will discuss, write, and perform through the lens of repetition. We will read work and watch performances by Gertrude Stein, Solmaz Sharif, and Danez Smith. We will generate work with directive prompts. Expect to recite generative work in small groups. There will be an opportunity to present work at the end if time permits.
Our feature syan jay is the author of Bury Me in Thunder (Sundress Publications, 2020). They’re an agender writer of White Mountain Apache descent. They were the winner of the 2018 Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize and Frontier Poetry’s 2019 Frontier New Voices Fellow. Their work has been published in POETRY, The Rumpus, Black Warrior Review, Room Magazine and more. You can find more of their work at www.syanjay.com.
This might be our longest recap yet, so if you made it to the end, be sure to let us know! See you soon! <3
– MFG 🚪
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