By Staff Writer Selina Yang
Bursts of laughter filled the tightly packed C120 on this special Friday evening. Universal Performers (UP) debuted their student-directed play on May 24, Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. It ran for an hour and a half, including a 20-minute intermission. In this classic and melodramatic case of mistaken identity, two long lost twins arrive in the same town at the same time, and no one can tell them apart. Shenanigans, from jealousy to arrests, ensue.
As head director, Junior Siddharth Mukherjee drew his inspiration from other school’s productions, like Washington High School’s The Addams Family in 2018. Noticing a decline in student interest regarding the performing arts and having been in the MSJ Drama program for the last two years, he set out with a desire to put on a masterful production. Mukherjee said, “I wanted to make sure everyone learned something new, even if the play wasn’t of the highest quality. I wanted to help inspire more people to learn about drama.”
Although there was a high turnout at auditions, some actors still had to play two roles. The selected cast was of various grade and experience levels, but students who had never acted before were able to keep up during rehearsals. Mukherjee said, “People who were once too shy to speak out are now able to speak out properly, and project emotion into their words.”
The club’s first step is to make sure they have an adviser for the 2019-20 school year. Next year, UP hopes to put on another production, with more formal lighting, a longer rehearsal schedule, and multiple showings.