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Seniors impress with high-quality acting
Stamps and greed overtook Quinnipiac University this past week as seniors performed their spotlight show “Mauritius” in the Black Box Theater.
The play was written by Theresa Rebeck in 2007 and directed by Professor Drew Scott, and is about two half-sisters who inherited a stamp collection worth a fortune. The half sisters, Jackie, played by senior Ashley DiFranza, and Mary, played by senior Jessica Lehman, have two different opinions on how to handle the stamp collection. Jackie wanted to sell them, while Mary did not. The play then followed the twist and turns as the two handled the situation.
While trying to find out the worth of the stamps from stamp expert Phillip, played by senior John Mulhearn, Jackie discovered how much the stamps were worth. His angst caused him to deny looking at the stamps, so Dennis, played by senior Austin Demos, looked instead. Dennis realized they had the Mauritius stamp, and told stamp collector Sterling, played by senior Michael Bobenhausen. Sterling then was willing to pay any price to get his hands on the stamps.
The play then delved into deeper elements, such as the distraught relationship between the two half sisters after their mother passed away and the meaning of money and happiness in one’s life and heart. The plot did an excellent job of telling a story while having an underlying meaning.
The students performed so well I forgot I was watching a college production at times, because the performance skill was comparable to Broadway. The emotion the actors put into their acting, especially in their facial expressions, drew the audience in. In the Black Box Theater, the audience members were able to see every expression on the cast’s faces. Each word, each movement, was performed exactly how it should have been in that moment of emotion. If the emotions the cast put in were not there, the performance wouldn’t have been half as good as it was, especially in DiFranza’s performance of Jackie.
DiFranza also made great use of the subtle humor in the play. DiFranza’s character was the only one to have any comical elements in the performance. She succeeded in the humor, just like she did in every other aspect of her performance.
All the cast members truly became their character. While sitting in the audience, I completely got dragged into the storyline. I believed every character for who they were supposed to be, especially Bobenhausen. He did an excellent job of being the stern, rich Sterling. He did such a believable job of playing a mean character.
The cast also made great use of the small space they had. The Black Box Theater is small, but the cast was able to use the props and space to their advantage. The play did not have many props, just what was needed to be used in the play and to set the scene. The cast members moved around in the space needed and were very aware of their limited space. As a front row audience member, it was such a great experience to be so close and to see them make use of the space.
In my opinion, all of these performers have a future in acting. I look forward to Quinnipiac University’s next performance to see more of its future acting stars shine on the theater stage.