Students get ‘play’-ful at WIRED 2006

This year’s WIRED was so funny, it was a sin. Seven of them, actually.

“The Seven Deadly Sins” was the theme of the third annual WIRED, a 24-hour competition in which groups of students write, cast, direct, rehearse and ultimately perform seven one-act plays. Presented by All College Theatre (ACT), ink and the Inter-Greek Council, the event drew a packed house at the Travers/Wolfe main lounge Saturday night.

Winning in the category of Best Overall Play was the greed-inspired “Shit,” written by Nick Maloney, freshman interactive multimedia major, and Michelle McGuinness, freshman English major. A hilarious tale about two bumbling thieves who rob their hosts at a dinner party, it was directed by Alida Liberman, sophomore philosophy major.

Laura Hargreaves, freshman English major, took home the Best Actress award for her performance as the ditzy thief Mina. The scene in which the childish Mina unremorsefully severs an unconscious man’s thumb to unlock his fingerprint-sealed safe was classic.

“I was surprised by how big a reaction the show got from the audience,” Liberman said. “I thought the show was funny, but I was really glad to see that the audience felt the same way.”

The Best Actor title for the evening was awarded to freshman Andrew Timmes, for his deadpan robot character in the mystifying, envy-inspired play “Dead but Dreaming.”

Written by David Byrne, senior mathematics major, and Sean MacPhee, senior computer science major, the play won Best Script for its story of a robot that longs to be human.

“We didn’t mean it to be confusing, but we didn’t try to make it approachable,” MacPhee said. “It was normal for our creative partnership.”

John Fischer, junior physics major, summed up the audience’s reaction to “Dead but Dreaming” perfectly when he broke character in the middle of the play and shouted, “What the fuck was that?”

Other plays dealt with such humorous topics as sexual promiscuity (“What’s Love Got to Do With It? (Nothing)”), stalkers (“The Sloth Play”), the intricacies of heavy metal (“How to be Metal: An Introduction”) and supermarkets (“An Excess of Oranges”).

“What’s Love Got to Do With It? (Nothing)” featured a particularly amusing character played by Annie Raczko, sophomore elementary education major, who spoke only in love song titles.

To provide continuity and an interesting twist to the whole affair, every play mentioned a nightclub fire and the outlawing of female genital mutilation in New York.

The plays were judged by an eight-person panel that included senior communication studies major and SGA Executive President Annelise Catanzaro, Donna Green, an alumna of the College, and three random student judges from the audience.

Also on the panel were the WIRED arbiters: Bethany Allinder, senior English major, Gabe Alonso, junior marketing major, and James Van Strander, junior philosophy and English major.

The competition began Friday night at 7 p.m. with a writing process that lasted until 6 a.m. Saturday.

Once the scripts were in, the three arbiters assigned directors to the plays. After 40 minutes of casting, the groups were given the rest of the day to rehearse. With such short preparation time, some line-flubbing was certainly forgivable.

“You have to make directorial decisions and stick to them,” Liberman said. “There’s no time to second-guess yourself.”

WIRED came to the College in 2003, when Alonso and alumni John Elliot, Brian DeGroat and Dan Brady adapted the concept from a similar event created by students at Dartmouth College.