Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to All Out, the game of game shows where you can win up to one million dollars if you go “All Out!”
Contract Suds sponsorships aside, this last August saw Mines Little Theatre, the prominent theatre club on campus, perform their Summer Play All Out. The play follows four contestants on a game show televised live from Watts, California. The 30-minute, one-act piece proposes moral questions regarding what one is willing to do for a large sum of money. It begins light-hearted and fun, asking contestants to “slap [their] loved ones in the face” for the sum of $250,000, and ends with a quick intensity.
The finale, where only two contestants remain, proposes the following scenario: For one million dollars, they must convince their loved one to play a game of Russian Roulette (Once Removed). The thrilling finish pits a man and his wife against a woman and her eldest of seven children, to risk a 1 in 6 chance of death for the possibility of great fortune. In the end, no one dies and the couple gets the money, but their marriage hangs in the balance of distrust and emotional scars.
Audiences were largely receptive of the play, though the most popular comment was likely, “That was… interesting.” The show was sold (used ironically, as admission was free) as a comedy, but the intensity of the actions and themes garnered some unsettled and overall bewildered reactions. So while the show was enjoyed, it threw some curve balls no one expected, not even Director Aaron Bilek (Dec ‘17).
When asked why he chose this play, Bilek said “I kind of browsed the internet for a few minutes, picked a few I thought were interesting, and submitted them. This one just happened to get picked.”
He admits to not reading the play in its entirety until the morning of auditions. However, he had read enough to find it interesting and the Board of MLT agreed to its production.
To clarify, submissions for the Summer Play happen around April. Students suggest plays and whether they would be willing to direct, then the Board votes on which one should be performed. This is the same process used to pick the Fall Plays and Spring Musical.
However, after a play with a surprise ending was chosen without full read-through, the organization has discussed opening future Summer Plays to be student-written. This has happened before— last summer. Creative Writing Club officers Marisa LaRouche (‘16) and Braden Egtvedt (‘18) co-wrote “American Iliad”—a 30-minute abridged comedic version of Homer’s The Iliad—rehearsed from May to August, and performed the play the weekend after the first day of classes, as has become standard.
The success of this endeavor brought forth the idea of encouraging students to write their own plays so the club can showcase not only the acting, directing, and technical chops of Mines students, but also open a door for playwrights to have a chance to write and produce their own play. When asked to comment whether or not this idea is something for us to look forward to, MLT President Abby Hentges (‘18) replied, “Yes! Yes! And Yes!” She did not expand, nor were all of those responses in regards to the one question.
So, calling all playwrights: start your work now and you will have the opportunity to see your work performed by the actors of Mines Little Theatre! If you are interested or would like more information, you can contact the MLT Board. Additionally, the Creative Writing Club can assist students with the writing process. The current Treasurer, aforementioned Egtvedt, has previously assisted students, so contact him if you have any questions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact information for the two clubs can be found on OrgSync.