I met Andrew at IESE today after his classes to watch a series of four short plays put on by his MBA classmates who are in the drama club. The idea of a drama club at an internationally renowned business school gave me pause. First, among team meetings, classes, enormous reading assignments, exams, and so forth, I couldn't imagine any IESE student having time to write, cast, rehearse, and perform a play. Second, and perhaps more troubling, is the idea that a large group of MBA students who are racking up debts in excess of $100,000 are still struggling with a Love of Acting that generally seems to afflict only high school kids and anyone unfortunate enough to major in Musical Theatre in college. Andrew suggested that these MBAers wanted to try their hand at acting to improve their management styles.
In any case, these four short plays turned out to be a really big deal on campus. Tons of students went to see them--so many that they were divided up into two groups, so each short play was performed twice. There were elaborate directions for where each play would be performed on campus, and there were several "stage managers" who took the audience from one place to the next. Of course, there was no getting around the fact that this was an MBA production. On the email Andrew got confirming his tickets, there was a request to follow all the directions of the stage managers to ensure that "all the logistics run smoothly" and that our "time and enjoyment were optimized." Yikes. A bit Stepford-like.
Surprisingly, the plays were really funny and well-put-on. One was a less-funny piece about regret, change, and revenge that drew heavily from a poem by Pushkin. The second was styled as a gameshow called "Sane or Sick?" that involved one guy dressed in a toga, as Oedipus Rex. The third was a funny blend of Romeo and Juliet and Casanova--the Casanova guy entered the play area in his very European tighty-boxers. Finally, there was a spoof on Monty Python, with a lot of business-speak thrown in about free enterprise and so forth.
Despite the great success of the plays, the obvious fun the actors were having, and everyone's genuine enjoyment of them, I can't get my mind around the fact that there's a drama club at IESE. I just don't get it.