Something Rotten: It’s Eggs!

STC is back, baby, and now it’s Something Rotten!

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“Oh, it was wonderful! All the singing and dancing, just great.” —Judith Graybel, grandmother of Peasant #2

STC’s latest production, “Something Rotten!” premiered on the evening of October 29. It follows the journey of Nick and Nigel Bottom, aspiring playwrights in the English Renaissance. They face antagonists such as Shakespeare, a puritan priest, and copyright issues. The critics are already raving about it! Just ask Judith Grayble, grandmother of ‘Peasant #2’: “Oh, it was wonderful! All the singing and dancing, just great,” she said. High praise from a woman whose Facebook friend tally exceeds 200.

Despite the warm reception, there were a few hindrances to the musical’s running. The technical aspects of the production were marred in part thanks to the somewhat frequent malfunction of the actors’ microphones, which sporadically cut in and out. Many chalk this up to a simple connection error, but the cast members are certain that this was an act of sabotage, perhaps as a punishment for being part of SING! 2021. However, when the actors went to confront the Lights & Sound crew, they found two ferrets in the control booth of the theater. Perhaps there never was a Lights & Sound crew, a quandary whose truth is shrouded in mystery.

Another audio issue came from the show’s ensemble, (a group completely devoid of males, for some reason) who were on the quiet side for a good amount of the play. This presents a strange paradox, as theater kids are indeed known for their incredible volume. Be this as it may, many are divas, not team players. The ensemble’s low volume might have been due to stage fright, or a paralyzing fear of further disappointing their parents.

However, these issues did not stop a spectacular show. The production was host to many great performances, including that of Berry “Berrilicious” “Care Berr” “Berrapist” Ongan, whose flamboyant minstrel costume fit well to their fearless belting. An odder role of theirs, however, was Nostradamus, whose old man status was perhaps miscast with the youngest face in the whole show.

There was also Nigel Bottom, played by Samuel Espinal Jr, whose role as a shy, non-confrontational writer was somewhat undermined by his tall and imposing stature. Absolutely brilliant casting if I do say so myself.

Oliver Hollmann’s electric performance as William Shakespeare was an absolute highlight of the evening. His stage presence was absolutely god-like, really carrying the rest of the show on his shoulders akin to the might of Atlas. He’s certainly one destined for stardom. (I would like to note that I, the author of this article, may or may not share an extremely close relationship with Oliver Hollmann, but that in no way creates a conflict of interest regarding the show.)

STC’s production also made an impact outside of Stuyvesant. A surprise to many, “Something Rotten!” picked up significant Tony buzz, a rush that was unfortunately quelled by a distinct clause in the Tony Award guidebook. Turns out that the conditions participating students were put in during the production of the show fall under a clause that includes “child labor” as a stipulation for immediate disqualification. Personally, I don’t see the problem. I mean, the cast didn’t have to go overtime for a whole three days! In theater, that’s a luxury. The show’s faculty advisor, Ms. Maggio, has since been incarcerated for her supervision of this perceived crime and will be attending a court hearing this coming Saturday.