Project Spotlight theater competition

Adam Mirajkar (left), Erin Hernandez (middle) and Niki Schoop (right) try to summon a ghost using the Ouija board in the production abbreviated G.H.O.S.T. during a Halloween-themed theater competition on Oct. 7, 2017. Photo courtesy Sarah Schreck.

Student-run theater organization Project Spotlight put on a thrilling Halloween-themed competition, "All Hallows Eve," filled with laughter, fright and tears as student actors compelled the audience into believing that this month’s holiday is for celebrating the arts.

Project Spotlight is a student-run organization that gives students of all majors the chance to be a part of the theater community. 

On Saturday, Oct. 7, six writers and directors got the chance to showcase their talents in 10-minute plays to win coveted trophies in Best Director, Best Play and Best Actor and Actress categories.

Some of the shows brought a history element to the stage, such as "Alexander the Ghost," where Alexander the Great haunts an ancient humanities professor in order for her to rightfully fix her teaching curriculum to tell the truth about his love life.

Playwright and director R*, a 21-year-old theater studies major, wrote the show with the intention to spread the word to the audience that there is always more to the story. Inspired by their hatred for an old professor they had, R took their love for both mythology and anger and turned it into a haunting satire.

“I had this idea about historical figures coming back and haunting a professor like that ... telling them ‘Hey don’t leave our lovers out of your lectures’ just because they’re gay or bisexual,” R said. “So, when it was announced that the theme this year was All Hallows Eve I said, ‘Oh I can do my ghost idea!'”

Matt Ubl, a student playwright and director, studied extensively for his comedic production "The Ghoul of the House of the Ossarium of the Spectre of the Tomb (G.H.O.S.T)" by watching hours of old horror movies to emulate the cheesy ambiance of the play.

With no particular plot, "G.H.O.S.T" follows a fourth-wall break among three actors trying to solve a mystery that keeps haunting the stage. Ubl, a 21-year-old aerospace engineering major, had previous experience in theater during high school but continued into college because of his love for the arts.

“It was more of an experiment. Most of the shows that I’ve written for Project Spotlight have been me trying to play around and experiment with different things,” Ubl said.

But not just satires took to the stage. Kaitlan McGahey, a 22-year-old acting major, wrote her show out spite for what she said is the lack of representation of the LGBT community in previous works she’s read.

McGahey wrote a show called "Vampire," which follows a vampire, her lover and her lover’s betrothed in a combat-heavy debacle of discrimination towards all types of love. Reminded and inspired by a play called "The Captive," where a young vampire sucks the life out of a woman, McGahey said.

“We keep doing this vampire metaphor with these characters, so let’s have an actual vampire be morally against trying to suck the life out of someone," she said.

*R uses they/them pronouns

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