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In a darkened Harkness, video reigns king of the second-year show

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2004 - Summer


An ad from the Office of Admissions in the program for this year’s second-year show congratulated the Class of 2006, then playfully added, “We were the first to spot your extraordinary talent.” While watching this buoyant and risqué midwinter revue any given year, one has to wonder if singing, dancing and writing ability might not factor into the admissions process to some small degree. For an amateur show, it’s pretty good entertainment—especially for insiders who get the jokes and barbs.

This year, videography topped the list of talents behind a sophomoric (by definition) production titled Not Another 2nd-Year Show. The title may have been a reference to the near-total absence of plot. Digital camcorders and do-it-yourself editing software have fueled an increasing number of video sketches as part of the show each February, and the trend was strong enough this time to keep the stage clear of performers for good chunks of the evening.

Among the highlights on screen was an opening video sequence taken from The Sopranos, with a cigar-smoking Craig Platt navigating an SUV through the gritty highways approaching downtown New Haven. Snippets of video enabled the show’s creators to parody the movie Top Gun, with Associate Dean Nancy R. Angoff, M.P.H. ’81, M.D. ’90, HS ’93 (in the role of the sexy flight instructor) playing opposite Doug Lyssy’s headstrong Maverick, who rode a red Ducati motorcycle onto the stage. Another movie parody cast Davendar Khera and Timmy Sullivan as arch rivals in a sendup of the Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson comedy Zoolander called “Zoolabber.”

A series of video interviews with faculty members including Michael J. Caplan, Susan J. Baserga, Herbert S. Chase and Lawrence J. Rizzolo allowed student Simon Best to embarrass his victims with trick questions on advanced topics in science (“If the ridge line of a house is pointing due south, and on a sunny day a rooster lays an egg precisely on the center of that ridge, which way will the egg roll?”). A Saturday Night Live-inspired segment gave the school’s registrar the chance to bowl over unruly students in the persona of “Terry Tolson, Student Affairs Office Linebacker.” And one of the most original clips was produced by Todd Ebbert, whose 2-year-old daughter, Alia, excelled as a young med student in the making in a sketch titled “Kaplan for Kids.” (She correctly pointed to her frontal cortex, xiphoid process and patella.)

The live-action portion of the show included a clever piece called “Heart Sounds,” patterned after gallops and murmurs; a Tahitian dance number choreographed by Stacy Uybico and Joel Hernandez; amazing break dancing by Eddie Teng; and a tender and comedic pas de deux by Craig Platt and Deepak Rao. Continuing a tradition of exploring the limits of taste, a number titled “Club Moist” probed New Haven’s club scene and the full range of sexually transmitted diseases one might encounter among the clientele.

In the end, lacking a plot didn’t seem to hamper the ability of Not Another 2nd-Year Show to charm and entertain. For the past five or six years, most of the story lines had revolved around former Dean David A. Kessler, M.D., who left Yale last June for a similar post in California. This show, too, managed a nod to Kessler in its final number, “We Lost Our Dean to San Francisco,” which was sung by Angoff, Interim Dean Dennis D. Spencer, M.D., HS ’77, Admissions Director Richard A. Silverman and former Deputy Dean Robert H. Gifford, M.D., HS ’67.

The proceeds of the show, more than $3,000, were donated to the Community Health Care Van in New Haven.