Last night I attended my second VStheUniverse The Geek Show at Stage773. The first time I went to their show was to support my fellow Otherworld Theatre Company actors as they presented a fight scene from their production Fight Quest (still currently running at Comedy Sportz), and it was really fun! They were hosting their Marvel Edition, and the house was packed with Marvel fans; and while I do enjoy Marvel, it pales in comparison to my ardor for Harry Potter. So when VStheUniverse announced their Harry Potter edition of The Geek Show, you better believe I was ALL over those tickets and began planning a girl’s night immediately.
We arrived in our favourite cosplays, representative of our respective Hogwarts Houses. Tickets were free, and when you registered for them you got to identify which house you were in so you could sit with them during the show- it was a very cool concept and a wonderful way to make the show interactive. In my group we had a tried and true Gryffindor and Ravenclaw (in robes), a Moaning Myrtle, a Professor Trelawny, a stylish adult Ravenclaw (tight blue dress with flair), a sassy Hufflepuff (yellow Audrey Hepburn scarf to match), and an adult glamour Slytherin (yours truly in an emerald green gown with a slit up to there). We were ready to do some magic!
**photo coming soon**
The host, Aaron J. Amendola began the show with a stand-up routine that was chock full of Harry Potter jokes and shout outs to the various houses. Side note: You would not BELIEVE how many Hufflepuffs were in attendance! Of course the beginning of the show included a hilarious Sorting Hat joke, led by Amendola and Chris Chapin, the two of them seamlessly playing off each other. At one point, I think Chapin uttered the words, “…whatever, Squib” and the audience lost it. It was the perfect set up for an evening of fun.
The next segment was an interview with Brian Holden from Team StarKid who was one of the writers and performers of A Very Potter Musical and several other parody productions. His upcoming production, Firebringer opens on July 6th at Stage 773 in Chicago and by the sounds of it, should not be missed. The Fantasy Queen of Chicago plans to have front row tickets to that bad boy! Amendola and Holden displayed a wonderful and easy banter as they poked fun at George Lucas, Taylor Swift, and Dementors (among many other things). I also really appreciated the deeper conversation that they had about respecting the story teller’s version of their story. In fandom we often forget that the creators behind these stories owe us nothing. Storytellers should be allowed to weave their story as they so desire. Who are we to pass judgement on their vision?
You can find out more about Team StarKid by visiting their website: www.teamstarkid.com
The third segment featured song snippets from VStheUniverse’s upcoming Love Songs of the Harry Potter Universe which will soon be available on YouTube. I don’t want to give too much away here because I want you to check it out for yourself, but God Gracious Godric’s Hollow, those songs were HYSTERICAL.
You can find these music videos and so much more by subscribing to VStheUNIVERSE: https://www.youtube.com/user/VStheUNIVERSEtube
You better believe that I will be singing “No One Can Severus” in the shower for weeks to come! I apologize to my boyfriend in advance.
In true form a Triwizard Tournament was held, but I don’t want to talk about it because Slytherin lost..
Later in the evening, Amendola interviewed Dr. Paul Booth, an associate professor at Depaul, who sported the most delightful laugh. The two engaged in a very motivating conversation on the importance of fandom. For example, why do people identify with certain houses? He even admitted to skewing his Pottermore Sorting Hat answers toward Ravenclaw because that’s where he feels he belongs. Thinking back on my own Sorting Hat experiences, it’s very clear to me that we answer both in what is true to us and equally what we hope to become. It’s all very self-fulfilling prophecy- even so for Harry (see: Not Slytherin. Not Slytherin. Not Slytherin). Booth reminded us that fandom is about belonging and that being a part of a fandom is about finding your family. Another interesting idea that I took home with me is that we are always cosplaying- that our outerwear is not a reflection of what is going on inside our hearts and minds. If I am dressing for work, I am not a replication of that clothing, but rather am wearing that clothing to assume a role. We are so much more than the sum of our parts and how we choose to adorn ourselves could never hope to grasp the complexity of our humanity. God, I love this concept.
Another performance I loved from the evening was done by a lovely Ravenclaw on roller skates who took us through a PowerPoint of her journey reading the books. I can’t convey how delightful and heart-breaking this expedition was but the one thing that stuck with me was this idea:
“You don’t read the books just to be happy.”
Lastly, I’ll leave you with this. I met a mother last night who travelled in from the suburbs to see the show. She was sitting next to me (a fellow Slytherin) and was rocking a sort of Bellatrix Lestrange outfit. In fact, the two of us next to each other looked rather like Narcissa and Bellatrix, which we definitely pointed out. We began talking and she disclosed that she had a 10 year old daughter who LOVES the books and has identified herself as a Gryffindor. This led us to a discussion on the timelessness of these stories and the joy our generation will soon experience by passing them on to the next.
I highly recommend VStheUniverse’s work. It’s fun. It’s celebratory. And it illustrates the true purpose of fandom. And as we don’t read Harry Potter just to be happy, we don’t engage in fandom just to be happy either.
We are fans for so, so much more.
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