Thursday, November 24, 2011

1,000 Words Worth A Picture #2 (SANDINO)

This photo essay series examines one photo, it's back story and what it means to me.

Sandino starting their Harold.
Sandino started doing the "Invocation" when they first debuted in April 2010 and did so for a number of months before switching to an organic opening. But the one thing they always did was before they even get their suggestion, one person would emerge from behind the curtain (in a spotlight), slowly start dancing and at the peak of the music would be joined by the rest of the group clapping in a rhythmic fashion, only stopping to strike a particular pose. At which point a member of Sandino will ask for a suggestion.


Now this is a personal opinion based only on a few experiences, but I think it says a lot about a Harold team when you see their first night on Harold Night. It's a unique night that can't be manufactured ever again. Your friends, your family, your peers, students and teachers are all there feeling pride, jealousy, hope and determination. A team that does well on the first night speaks volumes about their internal team chemistry. Not the chemistry you gain by practicing for months and months, but the chemistry you share deep in your bones. Michael Delaney said that all great groups (comedy, music or otherwise) come from the same primordial soup. It's an inherent gene that only lights up when certain atoms hit each other. And when their sensibilities are in check, firing at all cylinders, it's unlike anything else. This does not mean, necessarily, that teams with bad first Harold Nights aren't very good or can't be great. But they start farther behind than others. They have to build something together. I realize that the task of putting 8 performers together into a team is insane, but when it happens, it's magic. Needless to say Sandino had a great first Harold Night.

Sandino means a lot to me for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is Aaron Jackson. I took a 401 class with Aaron and out of that class formed our indie team, Boy Butter. Aaron was always a talented performer and it wasn't a surprise at all when I had heard he was put on Harold Night. Most people didn't know who he was, but that changed almost as soon as he yelled in his devilish way to his child on his first Harold Night.

Sandino also means a lot to me because of what they did with Harolds at Harold Night. When I first started seeing Harold Night, The Law Firm held court every Tuesday night. Law Firm sets would range from a wildly unstructured mess, to a pitch perfect Harold, but either way I ALWAYS got a funny Law Firm set. They took the Chris Gethard Show motto to heart where their sets were either good or so bad, that they were amazing. Sandino is like that, but less on bad side. Sandino started with the "Invocation" opening and while they did perfectly fine performing it, they didn't really find what "Sandino" was until they started doing organic Harolds. They started as simple organic openings, maybe laying a theme or a motif down, until their Harolds asked for something else. Something more risky, but ultimately more satisfying. Ellena once tweeted "Sandino weaves worlds." which aptly described the organic phase of Sandino. Sandino made the Harold fascinating to watch and in a way that was completely their own.

It also didn't hurt that Sandino was just god damn funny. And they are relentless on that front. One of the funniest lines I've ever heard came from Brandon Gulya as the edit line for their first scene of the Harold. Two parents were frantically waiting for their child to come home and Brandon knocks on the door, exciting the parents that their child has come home, and says "What is this? Brick?" as he pointed to their house. Even though 8 minutes into a Harold is way early to be blacked out, it could have been done there and it would have been the greatest black out line ever. Sandino is full of those moments and I am glad I was there to see most of them.

Many teachers and performers talk about teams and shows from years before I had even heard about the UCB Theater, in a way that made me jealous that they experienced something so wonderful. I may never see The Swarm's "Slow Waltz Around Rage Mountain", or a Neutrino Cagematch, or a fwand Harold, but I can say that I have seen Sandino. And oh boy...

No comments: