For 35 years, BC students have flocked to the O’Connell House on Upper to see everyone’s favorite funny Fleabaggers. The members of My Mother’s Fleabag treated the possibly-haunted venue as their home, but no longer.
For this spring’s Big Show, the fleabaggers decided to infest the Vandy Cabaret Room — with laughter. While this semester’s show lacked the homey, crowded and somewhat creepy feel of the O’Connell House, the larger space, balcony seating and better acoustics allowed the fleas to shine like never before.
A My Mother’s Fleabag Big Show is not the kind of show in which audience members light up their silenced cell phones every few seconds, wondering how soon they can leave to go to the Mods. Spectators are engaged in most of the skits and the level of audience participation keeps everyone on their toes.
The Fleabaggers, led by Pat Genovese A&S ‘15, Sean Bloomstine, A&S ‘15, and Alex Dzialo A&S ‘15, are experts at using comedy to poke fun at everything quintessentially Boston College. From the 48 Hours fishbowl to Jesuit teachings to Walsh getting shut down, the Fleabaggers find the humor in everything.
The group’s opener featured suggestions about what the number 35 (the group’s age) means to a BC student, “The amount of time I spend waiting for the Newton Bus,” suggested Caitrin Assaf, A&S ‘18. The group replied with a resounding, “Shut up Caitrin! You got an 8-man!” poking fun at the class of 2018’s still-sore housing wounds. Later, Matt Hession, CSOM ‘16, stepped in and suggested that 35 is his “favorite shade of Grey.”
Experts at engaging the audience for inspiration, the Fleabaggers asked for a topic you might hear about on the radio. After the audience settled on pregnancy, it suggested four different types of radio stations: Canadian NPR, Christian rock, rap and Korean pop.
While Chris Prall, CSOM ‘17, discussed the nuances of pig reproduction and Canadian bacon as part of his radio show, The Inquisitive French Canadian, and Jenna Postiglone, A&S ‘17, discussed “staying away from protection” and sang a song about God’s blessings.
Hession brought us rap “straight from the womb,” and Ben Halter, A&S ‘16, interjected with “pop pop pop! POP! pop pop pop!” frequently and with gusto.
The first of two scripted skits featured Prall and Assaf as Petunia and Pippin, two pretentious British tourists. While Sara Elzeini A&S ‘18 attempted to give the pair a tour of the great city of Boston, Genovese and Amanda Hoffman, A&S ‘16 interjected with some true Boston color, affecting exaggerated accents and yelling about Irish bars, the Sox, and Tom Brady’s sex appeal.
Back to improv, Hoffman facilitated “From Russia with Love,” using the audience suggestion of “Russia” to create a scene from a supposed Russian romantic movie. Tatiana Schaefer, A&S ‘16 and Elzeini “spoke Russian,” and Halter and Dzalio offered hilarious “translations.”
While the imitated Russian speech contained several “Vladimirs,” “Putins” and even “Rasputins,” the group poked fun at Russia’s current political situation as Schaefer mimed becoming a “Soviet man.” The Fleabaggers also granted the audience with a life lesson: “The best cheese tastes like shit.”
The classic “185 ____s walk into a bar” joke featured shoes and then presidents. Schaefer hit two home runs, first suggesting that the male shoe wasn’t “into her booty” rather “into her sole” and then telling a story about warning friends away from a flirty president, saying, “There’s a reason they call him Bush!” Dzalio imagined the presidents visiting a “plush bar” with “rows and rows of felt.”
The show culminated with the famous Opera, featuring the Fleabaggers stripped down to their boxers singing popular songs while replacing the lyrics with more BC puns than anyone ever thought possible.
The Opera, themed “panty droppers” included the “Remix to Ignatian,” “Bringing CoRo Back,” and a revision of Beyoncé’s "Partition": “Baby will you buy me some late night please?”
My Mother’s Fleabag Big Shows are a once-a-semester event, but they are clearly worth the wait. The Fleabaggers command the stage while interacting almost constantly with the audience. Their quick wit and onstage chemistry make many want to see multiple shows in one weekend. As this weekend drew to a close, Fleabag fans have already began counting down the days until fall's Big Show.