Dimming lights interrupted the low rumble of excited chatter from guests. As the lights rose, they revealed actors confidently staged, marking the beginning of the first of nine plays; a part of Wittenberg’s 10-Minute Play festival.
Theatre students were given a $100 budget and a semester to create art out of nothing. The series of original plays spanned over several nights with alternating shows each night.
To start, the show on Thursday and Saturday night consisted of five student directed and casted plays.
“The Long Island Iced Tea,” directed by Daniel Lofton, ‘19, started off the night. The play surrounded a group of friends sitting in a car outside of a party. The protagonist, Roberta, played by Elena Dumm ‘21, struggled with her tangled up romantic relationships and emotions.
The following play, “Off The Map” directed by Ted Graeter, ‘20, featured a couple lost in Antarctica going through a rough patch in their marriage. With advice from a local penguin, the couple was able to put their relationship back together.
The audience couldn’t contain their laughter when Jack Coughlin, ‘21, waddled in on stage in a penguin costume.
“The costume is hilarious, but it also completely makes him look like a penguin,” James Hagerman,‘20, said. “It definitely made the scene easier to do, too, when it looked like there was a legitimate penguin on stage with me.”
From there, the penguin helped Hagerman’s character, Scott, rekindle his marriage by giving him advice and discussing his own penguin marriage.
“Just One Night” shifted the tone of the room again to a more serious matter. The play depicted a girl who believed she had been raped the night before. Her friends argued over the matter until the protagonist’s rapist entered the room. After a short and awkward conversation, the protagonist decides to call in the rape.
Drastically contrasting the previous play, “Mothra vs. the Casting Director” kept the audience laughing for the entirety of its duration. The play was about two casting directors looking to cast a monster for their latest scary movie.
Mothra, an overly ambitious man-moth played by Drake Kobler, ‘21, auditioned for the part and, when he didn’t get the part, loudly complained “What isn’t scary about a fucking moth?!”
“I think I had real tears coming down my face that whole time,” Mallory Moss, ‘20, said.
Finally, a play entitled “Words, Words, Words” showed three famous authors: Jonathan Swift, Franz Kafka and John Milton as monkeys, stuck in a cage until one of them could figure out how to write the famous Shakespearian play “Hamlet.” Littered with literary humor, the monkeys debated rebelling against their captors while simultaneously and casually writing other famous literary works, including Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”
The second set of shows featured four new plays as well as all new actors and directors. The theatre filled up early as late comers struggled to find spots among the excited students.
“Young Americans” started off the night with a story about two college buddies meeting up at a party years after their graduation. Both with their significant others, Nathan, played by Seamus Dunphy, ‘18, was shocked to see his friend engaged to a woman when the two gentlemen dated for a significant amount of time during college.
The second play, “The Maltese Walter,” featured a man with superpowers that were interfering with his marriage. During his therapy, he was tricked by his secretly lesbian wife, Ally Peebles ‘20, and his therapist Maddie Bones, ‘18, into giving up his superpowers to his wife.
The shocking twist at the end of the play couldn’t keep the audience from holding back their laughter.
The next play, entitled “The Wedding Story,” gave a twist to your traditional bedtime story: the characters in the bedtime story weren’t too fond of the fairytale ending the story had given them. After convincing the storyteller, played by Katie Andrulis, ‘18, to read the real story, the characters immediately regretted that decision as they were faced with the harsh realities of living a life full of addictions.
Finally, “3 a.m. Wake Up,” took the audience to a dramatic scene in an empty parking lot at 3 in the morning, where friends Bob and Bill deliberated on what to do with the dead prostitute, or “entrepreneur of the night,” and pimp in the back of Bill’s Prius. Meanwhile, a doughnut eating police officer, played by Audrey Feiler, ‘19, caught them red-handed.
“I like the 10-minute shows because they are easy to fit into a hectic college schedule and it lets anyone who wants to get involved get involved,” Feiler said.