By Mackenzie Cutruzzula
The competition began on Friday, Jan. 30, as writers and arbiters gathered to start the play process. Arbiters can be compared to the “game makers” in “The Hunger Games” — creating a theme that writers have to follow, along with twists and turns to be added throughout the night. This year’s theme was reality TV shows with a sub-genre, classic Disney theme park rides.
The actors and actresses are only given their scripts about 11 hours before showtime. They have to block their movement, memorize the script and prepare the props and costumes. Each group is only given a nine-minute technical rehearsal in the space.
“Inside the Arbiter room, we just try to throw out as many ideas as possible until something sticks,” Head Arbiter and junior biology major Ken Abes said. “For this, we try to think as out of the box, weird and creatively as possible.”
Twists that writers had to follow included a horoscope prediction or fortune, breaking the fourth wall to the audience, lyrics from a popular song to be dialogue, product placement and creating a word.
In particular, the play “Spaceless in Seattle” based on “Bridezillas,” written by sophomore communications major Brooke Buonauro and sophomore open options major Julie Scesney, had to incorporate Tide-to-Go as their product placement. Before the bride’s typical major breakdown, the wedding planner realized there were stains on the bridal gowns and in perfect harmony everyone on stage broke character to hold up the Tide-to-Go stick, leaving the audience in stitches.
“We paced around the library basement and danced the Charleston while we thought,” Scesney said.
“And finally we had a breakthrough and a plot and that changed the night for us,” Buonauro said in conjunction.
The writing duo was the wildcard team amongst the four other groups, given that neither had ever written for “Wired” before this semester. In spite of that, they went on to win Best Play of the night with their quirky show about a lesbian couple getting married, incorporating a dad in space and the best man having feelings for one of the brides.
Other breakout performances included junior English and childhood education double major Masooma Muzaffar playing a dead housewife who loves to drink martinis in the Hollywood Tower Hotel — landing her the Best Actress award. Best Actor went to freshman chemistry secondary education major Eric Schreiber. Schreiber made the audience laugh playing an actor who portrays a Mormon dating the daughter of the Devil in a “Hell’s Kitchen” sitcom remake.
The most plot driven show was “To Build A Home,” which was based on “House Hunters” and followed a group of sisters and their penguin trying to find a home. With a “Frozen” feel that included a sassy blizzard and sisterly love, the play was sweet and “chill.”
“The best feeling is once my cast and I are finished and we can just sing and dance to celebrate,” said Alyssa Freitas, sophomore management major and actress in “Your Interview Begins In…”
Regardless of theater experience, everyone involved left exhausted but still laughing and smiling until the end.