By Jordan Rodnizki, Cast ’16
People know that Mask and Wig produces two of the best musical comedy productions in the Philadelphia area each year. Founded in 1888, traditions play a major role in the company. One of those traditions is a commitment to community service. Each September, the production season at the University of Pennsylvania kicks off with “Charitable Laughter,” where the 5 major comedy groups on campus (Mask and Wig, Bloomers, Without a Net, Simply Chaos, and Penn Six) put on a showcase of 15-minute sets that benefit a special charity selected annually.
This past Saturday marked the 10th annual Charitable Laughter and was presented at the Iron Gate Theatre. Proceeds from the show benefited the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf was chosen to align with Penn’s Year of Sound theme. The PA School for the Deaf uses innovative methods to help hearing-impaired students achieve their best potential. “PSD is moving to the cutting edge of education by integrating technology, best practices, and high expectations for all of our students from birth through the end of high school in preparation for further education, careers, and life,” writes Superintendent Marja Brandon, who kicked off the evening with a moving speech addressing comedy’s ability to heal, inspire, and entertain.
What followed was an extraordinary display of comedic talent, from punchy stand-up from Simply Chaos to the best of the tried-and-true Wig bits, such as “Master of Time,” “Rhythm and Monk,” and “Hostage Situation.” “Not only [did] we get to make the audience laugh, but we also [got] to help people in need,” remarked Mask and Wig head writer Will Seife. After the final act, students discussed the impact of the event. “I hope we can create a dialogue on campus about the accessibility of performance through this show,” noted Chirag Pathre who is currently the Chair of SMAC and senior in Mask and Wig. Pathre continued, “The Performing Arts Council hopes to continue having events and shows throughout the year to raise awareness for the PSD and support their efforts.” With an event record 230 people in attendance, PAC has certainly set the bar high for the rest of the year.