Keeping the Gaieties tradition alive, despite COVID-19
With the exception of a handful of lost years between 1968 and 1976, Ram’s Head Theatrical Society’s annual Gaieties production – performed before Stanford’s Big Game against Cal – has been a Stanford tradition since 1911.
While this year presented unprecedented challenges to the diaspora theater company working primarily with videotelephony, 17 cast members and 29 company members put together a virtual production that harks back to the original skit format used 100 years ago. It is appropriately titled Unprecedented Times.
Gaieties is a student-produced and student-written musical extravaganza that traditionally spotlights Stanford students’ theatrical talent while satirizing Stanford culture and poking fun at Cal.
This year there is a focus on amplifying underrepresented voices and communities and experimenting with the production structure. Producer CHLOE CHOW, ’23, explains, “Rather than providing the cast a script written by a set of writers, this production has been written and devised entirely by the cast and centers their voices within this year’s narrative.”
Ram’s Head is keeping mum about the content of the show, but Chow disclosed that a theme running through of all the skits is how the campus community is adjusting to living with Zoom and how the platform creates and hinders opportunities.
Thanks to social media publicity and participation in virtual club fairs earlier in the year, Ram’s Head managed to recruit 19 first-year students to the cast and crew, which bodes well for keeping the tradition alive in the years to come.
So, while there may not be a “bearial” of Cal’s mascot Oski at The Claw, or a train whistle blowing in White Plaza every hour for 121 hours before the Big Game this year, there will be three 7 p.m. evening performances of Gaieties, plus two 11 a.m. matinees over three days, Nov. 13-15. Purchase tickets here.