By YOSHA BOURGEA
It came as a surprise to learn that Hell has no mosquitoes.
It does, however, have excellent ice-fishing.
Or so Satan claimed during his visit to Bradley last Wednesday, when, using the body of Scott Keely, he performed a one-man show called "The Devil, You Say."
About 70 students attended the ACBU-sponsored event, which took place in the Student Center Ballroom. A sign at the door forbade the use of cameras or tape recorders. On the stage, between two tall black candles, stood a wooden chest.
As the already dim lights faded to darkness and ominous music began to play, a deep voice intoned the names of demons. Red light drenched the stage, revealing a figure dressed in a black cape. From below his protruding horns, he glared menacingly at the audience.
Then, abruptly, the music stopped and the lights came up.
"Enough of all that," Keely (as Satan) said. "You don't really think that's what I look like, do you?"
Seated on a stool, Keely proceeded to set the record straight about the prince of darkness—"To play the devil's advocate," as he put it.
As he wiped away pale makeup, removed his horns and took off his cape, Keely explained that as the embodiment of ultimate evil, he is bound by our conceptions of him.
"It is you who have clothed me," he said. "I come dressed in your expectations."
Satan explained that he was temporarily using Keely's body in order to present his message in a form humans could understand.
"I have to be careful," he said. "The last body I chose died on stage, right in the middle of the act. If that isn't a blow to my credibility, I don't know what is."
Though Keely's body didn't die, it did have a trick knee. To heal it, the devil had a member of the audience place her hand on it and recite a phrase in Latin.
As part of an ongoing joke with the lighting technician in the back of the room, Keely noted that "Hell is rampant with theater people."
He said, however, that Hell has no death, war or hypocrisy--ĒThere is no need," he said, "because there are no morals."
The devil admitted to a terrible weakness for puns--or a weakness for terrible puns. Some of the ones he told did make the audience wince, while others drew titters and a few laughs.
Some one-liners received no reaction at all.
"You are indifferent," Keely barked, "and indifference is intolerable." He then launched into a Cyrano-esque list of the many kinds of indifference.
"I myself will admit to nothing," he said. "I have never given more than the slightest nudge (toward evil)." He explained that he was there when Cain slew Abel, and that he stoked the fires at Buchenwald, Auschwitz and Dachau, but that in the end, humans always brought evil upon themselves.
He told the story of the fall from grace as it is written in the Bible--how Adam was tempted by Eve, who in turn was tempted by the serpent. "Now really," Keely said, his voice dripping with contempt, "a talking snake?"
Later, the devil expounded on the topic of religion. "For example," he said, "take Christianity—please."
One of the funniest one-liners of the evening came when Satan made reference to his dysfunctional family.
"I never had a mother," he said. "And my father wanted me to be perfect. Is it any wonder I turned out the way I did?"
But there was more to Keely's show than bad puns and irreverent jokes. In addition to original material, he quoted from the works of such famous writers as Goethe, Mark Twain, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, John Milton and Herman Melville.
And the points he had to make about the necessity of evil were not only serious but thought-provoking.
"Opposites are quite necessary to keep things in whack," Keely said. "There can be no love without hate, and he who hates most of all--must he not know love beyond all others?"
After taking on the role of Captain Ahab from Melville's "Moby-Dick," Keely closed the show with a final thought about the nature of evil.
"Deny me, and you become mine," he said, holding a mirror frame up to his face as the lights faded.
Although nearly two-thirds of the audience left during the 10-minute intermission, those who remained seemed to enjoy the show.
Senior psychology major Aaron Mills said that although the performance wasn't what he had expected, it was interesting.
"I think it's good to finally see that Lucifer has a personality," said sophomore physics major Dan Bradshaw.