Student productions ramp up rehearsal process

December 5, 2016 — by Saya Sivaram and Alex Yang

The play "The Murder Room" is in full swing for production, and this story talks about how the cast is preparing for the play. 

Poisoned hot chocolate, a hidden staircase and an American millionaire: all of these seemingly unrelated factors come together to form the thrilling and hysterical plot of “The Murder Room,” a production written by Jack Sharkey and directed by seniors JT Hulme and Zach Grob-Lipkis. The play will run Feb. 10-12.

“The Murder Room” follows the story of Edgar Hollister, played by junior Mateusz Kranz, who disappears under suspicious circumstances. His wife, daughter, son-in-law and two police constables join in on the mystery, trying to uncover the location of Mr. Hollister.

With only six people in its cast, “The Murder Room” boasts a talented lineup with three girls and three boys, one of them being sophomore Raghav Malaviya. This is Malaviya’s first time participating in a student production, and so far he has been enjoying the experience.

“It’s a much smaller cast and we’re all really close,” Malaviya said, contrasting the small size of the student production to the larger scale of the fall play, in which over 30 students participated.

“Having a smaller cast really means that we can focus on every little detail to make this show perfect, especially since it is so complex,” Grob-Lipkis said. “I did a show by Jack Sharkey in my sophomore year and I enjoyed it so much that I knew I had to direct another one of his shows. When I stumbled on ‘The Murder Room,’ I knew that I had the perfect show: it’s funny and witty and fast-paced and just so much fun.”

“The Murder Room” will be the second student production this year, following senior Lea Moustakas’ “No Exit,” an existential drama by Jean-Paul Sartre which will perform in January. However, unlike the deeply philosophical nature of Moustakas’ show, “The Murder Room” is a farce, basing its appeal on over-the-top acting and outlandish plot devices.

“People love farces because of just how extreme they are,” Grob-Lipkis said. “This show doesn’t spare anything — continuity, characterization or even common sense — in its attempt to convey it farcical nature.”

The show is extremely nuanced, from its characters and plot to the challenging set. Set up like a murder mystery, the play takes many twists and turns, constantly surprising the audience, while the set has to incorporate secret passages, hidden drawers and several flights of stairs. It’s a daunting task, but Malaviya is confident that the directors will be able to pull it off.

“I definitely think that the show will be awesome in the end. It’s so funny and complicated that I think the audience will really enjoy it,” Malaviya said. “It’s honestly just a really entertaining show.”

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