The Oberlin Review

OCircus Enacts “The Seven Deadly Sins”

Tess M. Yanisch

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The premise was simple: the Hell Shopping Network was filming a commercial in front of a live studio audience. On Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21, the students in OCircus used that concept to put on an astonishing display of their talents. “The Seven Deadly Sins” took place at the Cat in the Cream.

After an introduction by HSN spokesperson Lilith, played by College senior Chris Gentes, the performers did a skit demonstrating the value of each of the sins in question.

First, an angel and a demon pitted their poi skills against each other, demonstrating the “practical applications of Envy.” Next came Gluttony, in which a menu of decadent desserts tempted two diners into acrobatic feats — while eating. An intense, Wrath-fueled tap dancing competition led to shoving and then a flat-out fight.

Between each of the sets, Lilith came out and encouraged the audi- ence to applaud. Afterward, her heavenly counterpart — a skinny, exhausted-looking man named Eugene, played by College sopho- more Owen Henry — weakly chided them for doing so.

After the Wrath sketch, Eugene sorted through the audience in an attempt to find one person who was not going to Hell. There was only one — College sophomore C.J. Penso, a plant in the audience.

Lilith called Penso up on stage and asked her to take a drink out of a big flask. The red liquid therein was apparently some sort of essence of Lust, because it led directly to a burlesque show. Predictably, the crowd went wild.

After Lust’s act came Greed’s, a juggling match in which College junior Josh Greenfield repeatedly stole College sophomore Jessie Burnside Clapp’s supplies. His theft was foiled, however, by an apparently never-ending supply of new balls, sticks and so forth, which Clapp pulled out of her shirt.

Soon a brief interlude began in which Eugene, fed up with his lack of influence over the crowd, gulped down some of the red potion and slipped away with the Lust girl.

Pride’s act came on next, consisting of two lions with British accents sipping tea together. They got into an argument over who had more pride in their pride, which led to a swordfight: a bit of a non sequitur, to be sure, but amusing nonetheless.

The final act was a pantomime of Sloth, who melted into a hula-hoop- ing sleepwalker.

By the end of the evening, Eugene was a satisfied customer of the Hell Shopping Network, and the audience seemed quite happy with the products themselves. There were a few slip-ups in some of the acts — dropped juggling balls, mainly — but these did not detract from the overall skill of the OCircus performers.

The show was impressive and amusing. The enthusiastic reactions of the students, moreover, may provide a good clue as to why some people fear the very name of Oberlin.

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