SET’s mini play series: a triple threat

Student Experimental Theater hosted a series of mini plays on Friday, April 8. Five plays, all written, acted out and directed by students ran consecutively beginning at 8 p.m. in the Arter Little Theatre.

The first performance of the evening was “Forget-Me-Not,” written and directed by Mary Lyon, ’17. The play, essentially a dialogue detailing memories of the lives of Alzheimer’s patients, detailed the emotions and effects on the family members of those with the disease.

Daniel Keitel, ’17, and Alicia Foster, ’16, acted as family members of an Alzheimer’s patient, giving sporadic and rapidly progressing accounts of their family’s battle with the illness.

Allie Condon, ’16, took the stage next, performing her “Ode to Technical Theatre.” Condon, normally accustomed to stage and set production, received perhaps the most laughs of the night, with bits and jokes about the role of the nitty-gritty theater tech.

The crowd, representing a large percentage of Allegheny’s thriving communication  arts/theatre department, could not get enough of Condon’s performance, which could not have possibly been geared towards a more ideal and perfect audience.

Up next was Mikayla Wobrak, ’17, “The Game of Life,” which was directed by Wobrak as well as Rachael Robertson, ’17. The piece featured Megan Greig, ’18, as Wobrak’s lead, Lucy, narrating over acted memories of her and her friends playing games as a child.

Lucy’s comments came to the audience seemingly from the afterlife, or perhaps in the moments of death itself. The piece suggested that Lucy was deceased as a result of self-harm.

Dressed in all white, Grieg looked on at her younger self wishing she could “take it all back.” But it was too late, “the game” was over. The Arter Little Theatre was at its most silent of the evening as Greig silently moved and watched her memories onstage.

Wobrak’s touching story and Greig’s much appreciated performance hinged upon the acting out of Lucy’s memories, performed by Marina Pisano, ’16, Claire Wilson, ’19, and Kailey Nickel, ’19, as Young Lucy.

Their childhood scene—set effectively as Greig’s background—combined with Greig’s performance of such moving subject matter was indeed a story that felt like it belonged on an Allegheny stage.

Wobrak deserves praise for the conjuring of such a thing that was impactful and appreciated by a group like the one that assembled in Little Arter Theatre on this night.

Senior Danny Wightkin’s “Interview” quickly turned the room back to a sort of boisterousness and hilarity that is one of the greatest pleasures of theater.

Along with the Lee Scandinaro, ’15, acting as a quirky Bob, Wightkin, acting as Jim prepared for a job interview when hilariously high-pitched and nasally toned Bob acts their thunderously stern boss in a mock interview.

The vast change in character by Scandinaro, along with Wightkin’s witty remarks, proved to be a great combination that produced a lot of delayed laughter and intermittent audience responses as they fully got jokes and bits.

The final performance of the evening was the most ambitious, in Bolan Marshall-Hallmark, ’17, “Nanga Parbat,” a semi-autobiographical mental health odyssey featuring Marshall-Hallmark, the director, in the lead role.

“Nanga Parbat” featured the evening’s largest cast, as well as longest running-time. Accordingly, Marshall-Hallmark’s piece was certainly stimulating, and the most dynamic and full performance of the evening.

Playing a college student in the middle of a stretch of depression and insomnia, Marshall-Hallmark touched on a lot of topics. From the stress of classes and relationships with professors, to calling one’s parents in a mental health crisis and hallucinating due to sleep deprivation, Marshall-Hallmark effectively struck a chord with a play that would be understood and appreciated by a group of college students.

“Nanga Parbat” served as an appropriate and emphatic ending to the evening’s performances, concluding a night entirely composed of efficient and captivating performances entirely created and organized by the students of Allegheny.