There’s a ‘Mystery’ at the Hall

Seton Hall’s Theatre Council delivered its first performance of “Mystery Play” Friday evening in the intimate atmosphere of the University Center’s Theatre in the Round. The show marked a unique occasion: not only were the cast and crew were comprised of both current SHU students and alumni, but this was it the first time in two years Theatre Council has produced a summer play.

The play, set at a cocktail party hosted at a senator’s house, is far from typical; rather, it presents a unique and intriguing twist on the normal conception of a mystery. It appears almost as a play within a play: the action is controlled by a mystery writer, who regularly interrupts the on-stage activity. Throughout the story, she stops the characters to inform them how they ought to proceed and a creative unraveling of the mystery ensues.

In addition, each of the characters enjoys his or her moment in the spotlight. The characters, in turn, deliver insightful and comedic monologues, unveiling their inner thoughts. The monologues reveal not only wit, but also layers of meaning. Political and cultural undertones pervade the plot, adding substance and depth. The actors’ delivery of these various scenes ranged well; they adeptly portrayed both outlandish humor and subtle irony. Although some plot occurrences might momentarily confuse audience members, they will certainly not cease to be entertained.

The mystery writer, embodied by 2009 SHU alum Michelle Gibli Stern, extended her comedy beyond the confines of the theatre. Fully in costume and character, she greeted audience members as they purchased their tickets and, after the curtain fell, the Mystery Writer sat outside the doors, prepared to sign autographs. These slight touches added an extra ounce of humor to an already entertaining play.

There still remain several opportunities to see Theatre Council’s “Mystery Play.” The show will be performed Friday, July 16th, and Saturday July 17th at 8 PM, and Sunday July 18th at 2 PM. Take a break from the heat and don’t miss out on the mystery.

Cathryn Wiatroski can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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