The Manhattan College Players have taken home two awards from the American College Theater Festival for their fall semester performance “Rumours.”
The first honor was given to the entire cast and crew for “Excellence in Creation of Student-Driven Work” and awards were also given to two players, Matthew Peters and Camryn Kidney, for their outstanding comedic performances.
The comedy, a farcical play written by Neil Simon, follows characters who attend a dinner party gone topsy-turvy. As guests arrive they find one host missing and the other unconscious from accidentally shooting himself in the ear. The audience is along for the hilarious and absurd ride as the cast tries to sort out what has happened and avoid police intervention.
Peters, a junior at MC and a secondary education major, played the role of Ernie Cusack – the psychologist of the man who has shot himself. The Players veteran first got involved with the theater group after participating in the annual murder mystery performance his freshman year. He directed the annual drama this past fall while also rehearsing for his role in “Rumours.”
His passion for theater carried over from his days of performing in high school, though he never thought he would ever get involved in drama in the first place.
“I hated it at first,” Peters said. “My English teacher, who was also the drama director, forced me to audition and I did and I loved it.”
Peters favorite part about his award-winning performance was the fact that the Players finally chose a comedy for their mainstage play, something they had not done in the three years since he had joined.
“I love doing comedies. I like that aspect of being on stage and making people laugh because I try to make people when I’m off stage and it doesn’t really work that often,” Peters joked. “It was fun working with people in a high stakes environment and trying to figure out how to get to a certain point.”
Camryn Kidney, a freshman at MC and a special education major, was also awarded for her performance in “Rumours” where she played alongside Peters as Cookie Cusack, the overly eccentric wife of Ernie Cusack.
Kidney, who is also involved in the college’s pep band and MC Singers, has done theater since she was in elementary school.
“When I was in fourth grade, I lived in Vermont and there was some really crappy old theater group in my town, and my mom asked if I wanted to join and I said yes and I’ve been doing it ever since,” she said.
Like Peters, Kidney’s favorite part of being involved in “Rumours” was the ability to play a funny character.
“They are the most fun,” Kidney said. “I liked how weird [Cookie] was and I liked how much leeway I had to make her whatever I wanted.”
When the duo discovered they had won awards for their performances the first thing they felt was shock and surprise. While the play was performed in early November, Peters and Kidney did not find out about their awards until it was posted online a few weeks ago.
The MC Players will carry these awards with them as they prepare for their spring show “Into The Woods” which will be performed for the first time on Friday, April 13. Both Kidney and Peters will be on stage in the Brothers Grimm fairytale musical with Peters playing the lead role of the Baker.
“It is a really nice way to go into the spring semester,” Kidney said of the award recognition. “It’s a good group of people to be around, we are all friends and we can’t wait to put on another good performance.”