By Theodosia Burr’s Sex Dungeon, A&E Editor
Double Bumps Performing Arts Center broke records in total number of tickets sold for a single night as they premiered the first and last production of “Salt: The Musical” on the evening of April 2. Horsen A. Round, Managing Director of Ticket Stubs, Hanging Chads, and Box Office SNAFUs at the Double Bumps, sent out a statement that the Friday performance sold a record three thousand tickets in under one hour, despite the theater only having seating capacity for one thousand people.
“Salt: The Musical” is based on the day-to-day life of the staff of The Stagnant, complete with a mock newsroom as the setting on stage. The newsroom is a surprisingly accurate reproduction of The Stagnant offices, down to the suspiciously dank potted plants in the corner and the wailing haint who lives in the ceiling tiles and occasionally writes sports articles. It is a shame that the final act involves one character taking a blunt axe to it all, destroying every prop in their path, but that is art: an unknowable, unquestionable force of nature that can never be explained or properly funded by government entities without fifty pages of paperwork filled out in triplicate.
The story follows fictional novice staff writer Short Gymnastics (played by SLUM Theater director Boxed Toppings), who is roped into working for The Stagnant during their freshman year via an elaborate kidnapping ruse by the head editor, Catnip Everclear (also played by Toppings, in voice only). As the young Gymnastics goes from naive writer to jaded section editor, they see that the process of putting together a paper weekly takes a lot of time, effort, blood sacrifices, and talent—but above all, it takes salt, as exemplified in the act one closing number, “It Takes Salt.”
Being a musical, the songs were to be expected; the number of songs, not so much. Nearly every scene has a musical interlude, but the songs are so vibrant and creative that the constant singing is not as annoying as one might think. Standout numbers include: “Monday Meeting,” in which Gymnastics attends their first staff meeting and is serenaded by a raucous salsa song highlighting the various stories up for assignment; “What’s The Deal With That Dude?,” about the one guy who keeps coming to meetings but not signing up for anything, trailed by an orchestra member playing a sad saxophone, while literally everyone else on stage avoids eye contact with him while they sing; “I’m Hungry (Are You Hungry?) (Yes, We Are So Fucking Hungry),” in which staff members on production day throw down in a highly charged rap battle as they decide whether to order pizza for the fiftieth time that semester or break out of the mold and get burgers instead, complete with beat boxing, breakdancing on top of cardboard, and a stirring micro-operetta by opinions editor Simon Wei (played by a sentient Roomba with a mop for hair). Many in the audience were moved to tears by Wei’s song and gave the solo a standing ovation, which due to the theater being over capacity created a shockwave in the tectonic plates underneath the building, triggering a small earthquake in Quebec.
The production of “Salt: The Musical,” while low in budget, was high in its main component: salt. Performers would actually give audience members the stink eye at random points in the play, going so far as to flip one guy off who was scrambling through the mass of sitting bodies to use the bathroom. Actors treated each other with open disdain, not bothering to disguise the absolute gall in their voices as they performed.
At one point, the features editor, Jammy Eikamon (played by student actress Alla Dis, senior, butt science) interrupted the melancholy musical number “My Section Is Empty And My Homework Is Late,” which she was not even a part of, and went on a five minute rant about lazy writers which somehow ended up about topless bars and banning cheese from the cafeteria. She was then escorted off stage in an oversized red wheelbarrow. Needless to say, it was a confounding turn of events, but the audience rolled with it, much to the surprise of the performers, who shrugged and continued with the show.
“Salt: The Musical” was an accomplished feat for the Double Bumps performers that ended in cheers, tears, and only two possible safety violations probably ending in lawsuits against the venue. However, since the musical performed so well and beyond anyone’s expectations, Round and his fellow directors have decided that the Double Bumps has pretty much peaked and can never do anything better than it. Therefore, they are planning to tear down the Double Bumps and turn it into a parking lot, making “Salt: The Musical” the final performance of the theater. Complaints and desperately signed petitions to save the theater can be placed in a trash can and then set on fire, as the Double Bumps has already disconnected their phones and cancelled their mail service.