A night of “Murder and Mystery,” just in time for Halloween

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A night of “Murder and Mystery,” just in time for Halloween

MHS' drama club proved their talent yet again in

MHS' drama club proved their talent yet again in "An Evening of Murder and Mystery."

Mrs. Domingo

MHS' drama club proved their talent yet again in "An Evening of Murder and Mystery."

Mrs. Domingo

Mrs. Domingo

MHS' drama club proved their talent yet again in "An Evening of Murder and Mystery."

Samantha Blascoe, Staff Writer

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As the lights dimmed to black and eerie music began to hum softly,  it was safe to say that goosebumps crawled up everyone’s arms. Massapequa High School’s Drama Club had done it again: another spine-chilling play to start off the Halloween season.

MHS’s talented drama club performed the play, An Evening of Murder and Mystery,  on October 2 and 3. Directed by Mr. Kevin F Harrington, the fall drama told the well-known short stories of The Tell-Tale Heart, written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1843, and The Monkey’s Paw, written by W.W. Jacobs in 1902.

While finding my seat before the show started, I noticed that Mr. Harrington had chosen to continue the setup of having the audience sit on the stage, which created an intimate setting. I enjoyed the production setup, and so did some other audience members.

“It was more personal and made me feel more part of the story,” senior Jackie Marocchi said.

This setup is formally known as “the rounds,” and many of the actors had to get used to the feeling of being up close to viewers before opening night.

“[The show] was such an incredible, different experience that allowed the audience and actors to interact in a more intimate setting, which added a very dramatic atmosphere to the show,” senior Hannah Bentivegna, who played Helen in The Monkey’s Paw, said.

These two different short stories frightened the audience on a supernatural level as the play dealt with with unfounded fear and superstitions.

In the first act, The Tell-Tale Heart, dramatized by Luella E. McMahon, the audience encountered an intense story about a man that is always “nervous, but not mad,” who later confesses to killing the old man who lives with him.

Senior Anthony Morano, who played the main character, called it a “bittersweet” performance. As it was his last fall drama, he says that he “loved every moment of the chaos!”

The haunting voices played by Danielle Altamura, Rachael Egbert, Molly Guarton, and Aggie Lesser, certainly added to the ghastly mysteriousness of the performance.

While the audience was captivated by the acting going on in front of their eyes, there were plenty of people running around offstage as well. Stage manager, senior Taylor LaPorta, told me about her experiences working behind the scenes.

“My job is to make sure that all of the props are in the right place. It can be pretty tedious…It’s definitely a lot of pressure, and can be stressful at times but at the end of the day…I love what I do,” LaPorta said.

The stage crew gets to view the show from a different perspective than the regular audience. As Taylor said, “I get to see the show from a different angle and it makes you appreciate the theatre a lot more.”

After the ten minute intermission, Act II, The Monkey’s Paw, dramatized by Brainerd Duffield, took its turn to frighten spectators. Mr. and Mrs. White, played by freshman Tyler Knabe and senior Alexia Castle, had no idea that everything would change once the Monkey’s Paw crawled into their life. When Sgt. Major Morris, played by MHS student Mike DiRusso, brought the Monkey’s Paw to the couple, their curiosity got to the best of them. Their eagerness unfortunately caused their daughter, Helen,  (Hannah Bentivegna), to die tragically at the Power Plant  where she worked.

With all the spooky sound effects and eerie stories, I can imagine that all the actors had some laughs while rehearsing scenes over and over again. “Everyone was really sweet and I plan to try out again next year,” freshman, Samantha Carrol, who played the Neighbor in Act I, said.

Director, Mr. Harrington, had much to say about the performances,“Working with the talented students of Massapequa High School is always a pleasure!  Bringing two classic short stories, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Monkey’s Paw to life with audience members sitting on three sides of the stage, created an intimate theatrical experience for both the actors and the audience.  The close proximity to the acting area, along with the amazing performances, pulled everyone into the dramatic action of the plays!”  

Overall, this year’s haunting fall drama has displayed phenomenal performances,  even with only three weeks of rehearsal. All of the drama club members’ hard work certainly showed throughout the fantastic hour-long performance.

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