PITS: A Fresh Take on a Classic Story


“PITS: The Unauthorized Holes Musical” is a hilarious take on the classic Sachar story. (Ethan Shea / The Observer)


Everybody fondly remembers the Disney adaptation of Louis Sachar’s novel “Holes.” That being said, the Off-Broadway tribute to the movie deserves equal praise.  “PITS: The Unauthorized Holes Musical” is a hilarious take on the classic Sachar story.  From enjoyable musical numbers to a hilariously self-aware script, “PITS” is sure to provide a fun and engaging viewing experience to any fan of theatre. 

The play begins when the main character of the story, Stanley Yelnats, (yes, his name is a palindrome) is accused of stealing a valuable shoe.  Unfortunately for Stanley, his father is obsessed with finding the cure to smelly feet, so his house is full of sneakers.  This makes for a difficult defense and fortifies the claim that Stanley and his family chronically suffer from bad luck.   Eventually, this unlucky series of events causes our protagonist to end up in a correctional camp for juveniles.  Here, the campers dig…pits.

“PITS” was written, directed and produced by Noah Rauchwerk, a recent graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The set is fairly minimalist, but this does not reduce the overall quality of the performance. A passionate cast coupled with an engaging script prove to be more than enough to leave a packed theater satisfied.  The motion picture “Holes” may have starred notable actors such as Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight and Sigourney Weaver, but I did not find myself longing for their return during this play.  All members of the cast portray their roles flawlessly, and the personalities of many of these characters are hysterically out of place. The play uses adult humor and some occasional crude language, but it is by no means unwelcome. However, keep that in mind before you bring your younger siblings because this musical is drastically different from the movie.

The most notable difference between “PITS” and “Holes” is the relationship between Stanley and his friend Zero.  In this play, not only is Zero a girl, but she falls in love with Stanley.  Luckily for her, the affection is reciprocated.  This entirely changes the dynamic of the original story, but does not make the musical any less entertaining.  In fact, I found the newly established love duo of Stanley and Zero to be a refreshing take on Sachar’s tale.  The change is fitting for this adaptation of the piece.

One of the funniest ideas exclusive to the musical is the personification of the infamous Yellow Spotted Lizard.  Each and every inhabitant of Stanley’s camp fears this reptile, and justly so.  The bite of this poisonous lizard guarantees a painful death. Although, in the musical, we learn that the lizard is not too different from any other character in the play.  This reptile is comically personified into an intelligent and incredibly well-spoken creature who is simply searching for affection like everyone else.

“PITS: The Unauthorized Holes Musical” can be seen every Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the Peoples Improv Theatre, which is coincidentally known as “The PIT.”  This theatre is just a short subway ride away from Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus, so there is no reason for a student to miss out on this experience.  Tickets are $7, which is a steal for such high quality entertainment, so be sure to catch a performance while tickets are still cheap.