Throwbacks and Tubed Yogurt: A Review of Tuesday Night Café’s Be Tween
Middle school was an awkward time for most if not all of us. We had embarrassing moments, first crushes and moments where we genuinely thought that it was the end all or be all of our lives. We cringe when we are reminded of how we were back then.
When I walked into the theatre space at the downtown McGill campus to watch Tuesday Night Café Theatre’s production Be Tween, I was tossed back into my own middle school memories. Songs from the early 2000’s like Sean King’s “Take You There” and Hellogoodbye’s “Hello” made me realize that I still had these songs buried at the back of my mind, and the memories that came with them.
Needless to say, TNC’s Be Tween was a nostalgic trip that had me smiling throughout all of it.
Written and directed by Concordia student Phoebe Fregoli, the play had originally been a submission for TNC’s playwriting contest. The prompt that Fregoli was given to produce a brief ten-minute play for this contest was simply “y’know those yogurt tubes?”
From there, the script was developed and made into the play that it now is. I wasn’t sure how it’d be possible to consistently incorporate yogurt tubes throughout a play, but Fregoli managed to do so in many clever ways.
Be Tween deals with themes of masturbation, sexuality, friendship, and learning more about oneself at the most awkward time in our lives. The dialogue in the play was realistic and evocative of how we used to talk back then. “Well, if you know what a blowjob is, why don’t you explain it us?” “I can, but I wanna see you explain it first… You know, so I can tell you if you’re right.”
Sitting there watching the show was almost like watching something from your past take place in front of you, but all you can do is knowingly scoff and watch it unfold.
Each character that was portrayed onstage was so relatable in one way or another. That cocky jock, the guy that convinced you that if you mimed shaking a salt shaker over your tongue you would taste salt, the melodramatic preteen that threw ultimatums left and right. You know who I mean.
The actors did a great job in representing young, curious, and occasionally arrogant kids on the cusp of becoming teens; from the way they delivered their lines to how they walked around on stage. The main reason these characters were so relatable was thanks in large part to these solid performances.
“It was a collaborative effort,” actor Neve MacLennan explained. “We shared stories and thought of some really funny cliché things that we thought when we were kids.”
“The music also helped in a big way,” castmate Hannah Silver continued. “Throughout the rehearsal process, we’d dance to a lot of songs from that time in our lives, which was a fun way to take us back.”
With funny tongue-in-cheek writing and some great scenes onstage that were downright ridiculous, it was definitely a surprise that the cast didn’t break out in a fit of muffled laughter.
This actually proved to be a challenge during rehearsal time, as cast member Kyla Kaplan-Chinard said. “I guess it’s the best problem you can have when putting a show together.”
The main goal that the cast is aiming for is to get their audience to relate and to have them relive some of their own memories. But most importantly to let them be able to laugh at themselves as well.
Tubed yogurt paired up with the thoughts and worries of young middle schoolers, Be Tween is definitely something to check out while it’s still around.
Be Tween // Jan. 21 // Morrice Hall (3485 McTavish St.) // Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and again at 8:45 p.m. // $6 for students OR $10 for general