Absurd is the word

In real life, two men rarely sit naked in a bathtub together while exchanging a quasi-philosophical dialogue.With lovely ladies playing the lead male roles of “Hans and Fritz Take a Bath,” the performance had a voyeuristic sexual undertone while addressing the absurdities of life.Independently written, directed and produced by UVM sophomore Henry Kellogg, the play was performed in the basement of Slade Hall on April 2 and April 3 after two months of rehearsal.The play confronts the obscenity of pessimism by beginning with Hans’ awkward strip and attempted suicide, progressing into a gloomy exchange of stories that lead to an optimistic resolution. Hans and Fritz, played by first year Carmen Craig and junior Julifer Day respectively, captured the somber dispositions of their characters while captivating the audience with animated performances. Craig and Day did a magnificent job reciting their lengthy monologues, with only slightly noticeable slip-ups in their performances.However, listening to the dialogue, one gets a sense that neither character has a unique voice — rather both characters’ identity is reminiscent of a single person, the playwright.Aesthetically, the backlighting from a standing lamp behind the porcelain claw-foot bathtub cast a silhouette on the performers creating an aura of sincere spirituality.While conceivably lewd, both Craig and Day’s confident performances provoked not mere sexuality but an authentic reflection of typical life struggles.Cigarettes played an important role both as a prop and a symbol.  Hans, the suicidal character, had quit smoking years earlier, but nevertheless gave in to the simple pleasure upon Fritz’ offer.But, following the grand concession of choosing to continue living as a despicable human being, Hans’s cigarette smoking seems arbitrary in comparison.Similarly, when Hans invites Fritz into the bath, it seems arbitrary not to enjoy a warm bath when there is room for two.As Hans and Fritz smoked their cigarettes, the performance gained an artistic Salinger-esque sophistication.  The only thing missing was the smoke.Adding to the absurdity, the performance featured both an aside with God in an unconventional adaptation of the Adam and Eve story in addition to an unfortunate incident with a girl in pink Uggs.God, played by sophomore Emily Piche wearing a low-cut shirt, joked at Adam’s inability to appreciate Paradise and exiled him into a land with women. “I’m gonna put you out,” God said to Adam, “and you’re going to wake up with one less rib and a woman beside you … I’ve had more than my share of those sort of nights.”It isn’t until the comical encounter with God that the pessimistic veil is drawn aside and the mood lightens, maintaining its austerity. Following the gender role reversals, male junior McLain Cheney wearing a fluffy tutu did pantomime with Hans acting out one of Fritz’ monologues about the time he accidently shot a snot rocket on a girl’s new pink Uggs.”Just go,” the girl in the pink Uggs said. The one-liner drew a huge laugh — while hilarious, it speaks of an apathetic culture.After a runtime of 15 minutes, the resolution is something many UVM students can commiserate with.  After Hans decided to live, he asked Fritz, “Wanna smoke a bowl?”The triumph over nihilism and beginning of the absurd was met with a standing ovation, a long time coming and a rightfully earned one.