Second Annual One Acts Festival Shines Spotlight on Comedy


On Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9, the Manhattan College Players presented their annual One Acts Festival in the Black Box Theatre. Six student directors presented their shows to audiences that carried hilarious and significant messages.

Act I opened with the “The Know-Show”, a mimic of an Alex Jones theme political online show. Freshman Luke Jankovic played host Steve Smith and personated his character in an angry and excited radio host voice, slamming the table repeatedly and yelling at the audience. Erica Caferelli played a professor who is invited as a guest on the show and is totally caught off guard by Smith’s crazy spazzes and outrages.

Sophomore communication major, Nicholas Chiofalo, wrote and directed the show. He explained how the writing-process didn’t take as long as many would assume.

“I thought of the idea randomly through lunch and I went to the library and I wrote it and I liked what I was doing so I kept doing it. I wrote it in two days,” he said.

He added, however, that editing and perfecting the skit was a real challenge.

“Writing raw is easy but then perfecting it and find tuning in it and making sure it’s actually funny, not just the moment you wrote it, that was the hard part,” Chiofalo said.

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The last show of the first act was a performance of the mini-musical “21 Chump Street,” directed by Daniel Vetter and written by Tony Award-winner Lin Manuel Miranda. MADALYN JOHNSON / THE QUADRANGLE

“Not So Seinfeld: Here We Go Again” was a parody about the classic sitcom “Seinfeld.” Written and directed by Matthew Peters, actors Peter Martino and Matthew Peters played themselves, fighting about stereotypical sitcom arguments such as breaking up with Laura over the tiniest things and not inviting the landlord, played by Joseph Weitekamp, over for dinner. Michelle Lapreay played a girlfriend that encountered a dilemma with her Jewish boyfriend when learning from her 23andMe results that a family member of hers was a Nazi.

The last show of the first act was directed by Daniel Vetter and a performance of the mini-musical “21 Chump Street”, written and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Justin Laboy, played by Maria D’Angelo, is a high school senior that falls for transfer student, Naomi Rodriguez (played by Megan Lawlor). He is followed by his entourage of three students, played by Anna Jerrems, Anna Burnett, and Catrina Cornwell.

Cornwell, who is a freshman philosophy major, talked about her experience being part of the show.

“It’s been a blast. I love everybody in the show and it’s definitely brought us a lot closer together. It was a mess for a while, but we worked together and figured things out together,” she said.

She also mentioned how the show being a musical helped her gain theater experience as a singer and actor.

“This was actually the first time I’ve ever been in a production so the fact it’s a little bit of both, a musical was great, because I did a little bit of everything so it was dope,” she said.

Act II began with another satirical show mocking a sitcom. “FRIENDS: The One Where No One’s Ready” was written by Ira Ungerleider and directed and edited by Camryn Kidney. Maren Kain reprimands actors Matthew Peters, Peter Martino, Joseph Weitekamp, Michelle Lapreay and Alyssa DeRosa to get dressed for an important event.

Peters and Martino refuse to over a couch dispute, DeRosa finds herself in a pickle when conflicted with what to wear after a humus incident, Lapreay is busy dealing with a voicemail catastrophe, and Weitekamp insists he is not angry when aggressively told he can wear whatever. The performances by the actors gave everyone a good laugh.

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LEFT: “Not So Seinfeld: Here We Go Again” was a parody about the classic sitcom “Seinfeld” and a sequel to Matthew Peters’ one act from last year, “Not So Seinfeld.” RIGHT: Act I opened with the “The Know-Show”, a parody of an Alex Jones theme political online show. MADALYN JOHNSON / THE QUADRANGLE

Alice Gerstenberg’s “He Said and She Said “was directed by Katharine Schied.  The show is a comedy based on a false rumor made up by Enid Haldeman’s guest, Mrs. Cyrus Packard, played by Sofia Tollinche, that tarnishes a happy friendship between characters Diana Chesbrough and Felix Haldeman, portrayed by Anna Jerrems and Tristan Shawley. The student directed version of this feminist play certain disappoint and amused the audience through its entirety.

The One Acts Festival closed off with a show written and directed by Gabriella DePinho. “You Wash, I Dry?” was a play about two best friends Noah (played by Megan Lawlor) and Sam (Gabby Kasper) who clean the dishes together and discuss goals and ambitions during a New Year’s party, while poking fun at each other. Noah reveals her New Year’s resolution to Sam about being more courageous, in which Sam questions her statement.

The play then transitions a year after Noah’s proclamation in which she sadly admits she didn’t commit to her resolution. The other party guests can be heard in the back chanting the new year’s countdown and it’s at the last second when Noah courageously kisses Sam. The two gazed at each other afterwards with Sam looking happy and pleased. The scene ends there.

Overall, the audience members definitely agreed the performances and the shows written and directed by students were done exceptionally well. Freshman Jana Clark, a communication major, shared which shows she liked the best.

“My two favorites were the Seinfeld playoff and the Friends one because those have been just two of my favorite shows that I like binging,” Clark said. “They really did a good job of portraying the characters really well and you could obviously tell who everyone was portraying so it was really funny to these those parallels. So, a job well done.”