The below story was submitted for the Clarkson PCI Oral History alumni book project, but missed the deadline for submission.
Bill Luty’s LAST True Story from Clarkson, 1960’s.
The beginning and end of my acting career.
It was Ice Carnival 1967. Despite a lot of hard work, the Karma boys had put together a pretty lackluster ice statue for the competition. Knowing that we couldn’t compete with the DUs of the world, we decided to participate in the all-fraternity Ice Carnival skit, the theme of which was “Grecian Grandeur”. The skits were put on by each fraternity and were held at Snell Hall auditorium.
To prepare, Wayne (AKA “Loin”) Lallier, Bill McLachlan, Frank Mangravite, Albert Luke and I sat in a room at the Karma House to write and plan the skit. After several brewskis, we decided to do a skit from the Odyssey in which Ulysses comes home to Penelope who he abandoned for years to fight in a war. Al Luke got the role of the “blind” seer to tell the story while the performers did their stuff. Wayne was Ulysses and was dressed to the hilt as a Grecian warrior. My role was to play Penelope….in drag.
To get ready for the skit, McLachlan’s girlfriend Carol (now his wife) and one of her friends dressed me with hair (not mine) piled up, a floozie dress, padded bra and enough makeup to make me look like a woman of the night. It was a shock to several guys when before my scene, I had to use the men’s room!!
Well as the skit unfolded Ulysses (Wayne) came down the aisle in Snell Hall looking to get home as Albert (blind seer) described his trials and tribulations. When he came to the stage he saw a line of Grecians, KARMA members (dressed in old toga costumes from a past party) lined up waiting to go into a house to see me. He called out my name: Penelope……!, Penelope……!
After a short time, out I walked, disheveled, hair messed and limping with a crutch. I hobbled over to him, looked him straight in the eye and said: “ULY, ULY, ULY…… 30 YEARS AGO YOU LEFT TO GET SOME TROJANS AND YOU NEVER CAME BACK!!!!!” At that point, the audience EXPLODED with cheers and foot stomping!! After that the skit was pretty much done.
Then came the judging which was done by announcing the skit / fraternity. We won with a standing ovation. Well, that was the beginning and end to my illustrious acting career. However later that night while we were celebrating our win at the T&R, I heard some guys talking amongst themselves wondering: “Who was that woman that played Penelope?”
I think I missed my chance at stardom.