Student-written comedy Nitrous Oxide leaves audience laughing


Students perform a skit in the comedy Nitrous Oxide Thursday, Feb. 6 in the Little Theatre.

Arjun Shatkin

Nitrous Oxide delighted audiences with comical acting, student-written satires, and hilarious plots. The show ran Feb. 6, 7, and 8 in the Little Theater and was directed by senior Harry Minsky and junior Mikayla Alford. Nitrous was packed with more than two dozen skits, giving the writers and actors a lot of time to establish their humor and shine on stage.

“It’s something that you can go to and have a ton of fun at,” said sophomore Sam Braithwaite, a cast member.

One standout skit from the night was “Cookie Jar,” which was written by senior Myles Murphy and junior Calvin Mamis. The skit started with three children sitting in a circle and playing a clapping game while they recited the familiar chant: “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” Promptly, an actor burst out onto the stage and dramatically confessed to stealing the cookie from the cookie jar. The attention drew away from the kids playing as more people jumped on stage to confess for the same reason. 

Finally, the confusion was broken up when an actor, dressed as a cookie, claimed that, in fact, no one had stolen him from the cookie jar. “Cookie Jar” successfully turned a simple game into a sprawling drama in just about a minute, leaving audience members filled with laughter.

“The [skit] I enjoyed being in was the cookie jar one,” said sophomore Sam Melville. “It was cool to see it all come together.”

Despite a number of light-hearted skits, Nitrous was not afraid to delve into social commentary and multiple skits playfully joked about gender and racial dynamics. Additionally, “Welcome To Newville” satirically criticized Newton for its lack of socio-economic diversity along with its possible hypocrisy when it comes to American politics. “Welcome To Newville” used the made-up city, Newville, as a placeholder for Newton.

“I liked ‘Welcome to Newville’ as a scathing critique of what Newton may or may not stand for,” said Minsky.

In “Two Truths and a Lie,” written by Melville, a guidance counselor, played by senior Teddy Walsh, facilitated an activity with a group of students by asking each person to share three facts about them, two being truths and one being a lie. The students would then have to guess the lie out of the bunch. When none of his students wanted to share, the guidance counselor stepped in and shared about himself, making his lie simple while stating problematic and abnormal, yet hilarious truths. As the counselor played more rounds of “Two Truths and a Lie,” the truths became more and more outrageous, making the audience crack up and leaving the students onstage visibly disturbed.

Nitrous was a three-stage and multi-month long process, according to Alford. The cast wrote and acted the whole show, an undertaking that Alford says helped the cast “trust each other” more and more.

“Through acting and writing, we got to know each other better and find out more about each other,” said Braithwaite.

The result of the preparation was surprising, witty, and memorable sketch comedy that encapsulated the voices of North students and made the show stand out in the annual Theatre Ink rotation.

According to Minsky, the cast was good at “understanding how to take general, raw comedic energy and turn it into something that can be performed.”