‘Live from North Lawn, it’s Pembroke Night Live!’
If skit titles like “#FirstManProbs,” “The Good Book of Jobs,” and “Bathroom Encounters” pique your interest, then there was only one place you could have been on Thursday night: the North Lawn.
Dubbed Pembroke Night Live –or PNL, for short–the event was, like the show it is modeled after, a combination of live sketches and digital shorts.
And all of it was done exclusively by students.
A total of 38 students, all Pembroke residents, combined their efforts over a five-month period to make what started as a simple idea into an entertaining reality. Their jobs were distributed into distinct categories, including writers, producers, crew members, actors and tech crew.
The show was produced by Paxton Manly, Scott Wilson, Michael Spencer and Garrett Thompson.
At the helm of the operation was Manly, a sophomore commercial voice major and Pembroke RA. Beyond being involved in almost every step of the production process, it is because of Manly that PNL even exists in the first place.
The inception of the idea can be traced back to an RA training meeting, in which “it seemed quite likely that the date auction would be cancelled,” Manly said.
The date auction, which had been a Pembroke tradition and campus favorite for a decade, was cancelled this year due to an administrative decision, he said.
“We were discussing ‘What kind of program could we put on that would replace the prowess the date auction always had?’,” he said. “I always liked the idea of putting on some kind of production that was all original content put on by the hall.”
Thus, Pembroke Night Live was born, and it is the hope of Manly and those involved that is becomes not just the next Pembroke tradition, but the next residence hall tradition.
“It’s still a show, it’s still a production, it still takes a heck of a lot of work, and it still gets so many people involved and it’s still so exciting that maybe, just maybe, this could be the next Pembroke tradition,” he said.
If the audience response Thursday night was any indication, PNL should be just fine.
The North Lawn was covered with students sitting on blankets and chairs, who remained entertained throughout the entire 1 ½ hour show. Their reactions were enthusiastic, consistent and, above all, genuine.
One of the crowd favorites was a music video called “Horrell,” a parody of Lorde’s “Royals” written by Manly and produced by Thompson and Spencer. The song poked fun at Pembroke’s old age and community bathrooms–among other things–but stated that, in spite of all this, “greatness is their guarantee.”
Another crowd-pleaser was a skit entitled “Jenga World Cup,” also written by Manly, which featured the entire cast. An innocent game night between two friends turned into a nationally televised event, complete with a cheering section, referee and two zealous announcers.
In true “Saturday Night Live” form, there were also two musical interludes featuring the musical guest, freshman folk band The Tennessee Whalers.
The end of the show was met with a fervent applause, a satisfying culmination to five months of hard work.
Which is exactly what Manly wanted.
“All of them have gone above and beyond,” he said. “If it was just me, this would have failed. Our goal was to essentially entertain the campus. This was not for us, but for you guys, and we hope to establish a new tradition that will continue to entertain the Belmont community for years and years to come.”
The digital shorts featured in the show are expected to be released on YouTube this week.