What I Didn’t Learn in College

Alexsenia Ralat

I went to go see What I Didn’t Learn in College the week of its opening. That Saturday, my best friend and I made our way to Pipedreams to see what I hoped would be the best play that I would see this year at Millikin. My friend and I had never seen a Pipedreams production, so we didn’t know what to expect when walking into the theatre. The first clue that this show was going to be interesting was the fact that my friend and I walked through the set. The second clue was the PBR cans scattered everywhere. I knew right away that this was definitely not a family friendly show. That, and the obvious bong on the coffee table.

My friend and I got there about ten minutes early and were entertained to see that the cast seemed to be playing “beer pong” with some of the audience while they waited for the show to start. Right after the first scene, I knew I was not going to like this show. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was a very good show. The dialogue was well written and realistic, the character dynamics made sense, and the set itself was beautifully done. Like really, I have never seen a more realistic 70s-80s set other than the set of That 70s Show. The show itself actually did kind of remind me of That 70s Show if the parents weren’t around.

No, the thing that got me was the fact that the main character, Hal, reminded me way too much of myself. Which is kind of no one’s fault but my own. So, anyway, the show started off pretty okay. I liked how Hal’s older self, played by Logan Mclaskey, was the narrator and actually participated in the play itself. I especially enjoyed how he reacted to what was going on onstage, whether it was laughing loudly at a line or saying something witty about a character’s dialogue. I liked how the whole play was basically the playwright’s, Hal’s, take on the events that happened over the course of the nine months that he lived with these people. The audience could tell that some of the events were a little fibbed, hell, Hal told us in the beginning that some things were written to be over the top, or they were fabricated to fit the story.

The show was extremely offensive, do not bring your conservative family members to this because they will leave about three minutes in due to the overt use of the word f***. That, and there were so many drugs, I honestly thought I may have accidentally wandered into an actual college party. Kidding…maybe.

I liked the diversity of the characters as well, how every character had obvious traits and that no character was like another. That was refreshing. I also really liked Eugene, played by Ike Brown, who was obsessed with a lesser known member of the three stooges. Eugene also tended to eat things out of the trash. Despite his possible mental problems, Eugene, not Hal, who was actually trying really hard, was the one who became a famous writer. As the audience knows, Hal eventually became a playwright, but before that, he wanted to be published in newspapers and magazines across the country. Honestly Hal, same.

My least favorite was probably Brad. Brad was the alternative name for a donkey’s butt. Which honestly made him a very interesting character, but I still greatly disliked him. Overall the acting was great, the dialogue was great, the set was great. I just reacted to all the jokes the same way Hal did, with a mostly straight face and a sigh of desperation.