Stern College Dramatics Society to Perform 'The Mousetrap' this December
This article was originally published on Dec. 6.
The Stern College Drama Society (SCDS) will perform “The Mousetrap” at the Schottenstein Theatre on Wilf Campus next week.
The play will be directed by Leah Gottfried (SCW ‘14) with Tzivia Major (SCW ‘24) as stage manager and about 35–40 students in performing and supporting roles. “The Mousetrap” will be performed on Dec. 11, 12, 14 and 15. Tickets are currently being sold online.
Originally opened in the 1950s, the murder mystery, written by Agatha Christie, is the world’s longest continuously-running play, having been performed for over 60 years.
In the play, seven strangers at Monkswell Manor, the fictional location of the play, are stranded during a blizzard. A police sergeant unexpectedly arrives, worried that a murderer is among the guests in the Manor. Before the officer can proceed to investigate, one of the guests is killed. The officer subsequently initiates an investigation into the lives and history of everyone there. Once someone has been murdered, the police need to work against time to solve the case before another “mouse” falls.
The SCDS board members chose “The Mousetrap” because they were seeking a play that was lighthearted, comedic, family-friendly and upstanding as part of additional efforts to respect and showcase Jewish values. They also saw it fitting as an all-women's college and drama society to choose a play that was written by a female. Each of the eight actresses portrays a character with a developed personality and strong character.
The cast had its first read-through right before Rosh Hashanah and have been practicing ever since. Now that the play date is approaching, the cast has been practicing multiple times a week for 2–4 hours in the Schottenstein Theatre on the Wilf Campus, where the play will take place. Outside of practice time, actresses also spend time learning their lines and studying their cues.
Gottfried, who was Stern College for Women’s (SCW) first film major, runs rehearsals by first having everyone stretch and shake off all their nervous energy. The students then conduct exercises to get into character, focusing on the details and idiosyncrasies of their character, such as how they walk and talk. Gottfried does not pressure anyone to act in a certain way, but rather encourages everyone to focus on being connected and in harmony with their character.
Outside of the eight students acting, about 40 students are involved in set, props, hair, makeup, costume design, marketing, and house management.
“This production came together through the hard work of so many students,” SCDS President Elisheva Hirsch told The Commentator, “actors, stage managers, board members, costume, set, props, hair/makeup, technical and marketing teams have worked together to bring this play to life.”
Eliana Diamond, an actress in the play, told The Commentator that she enjoys rehearsals.
“Rehearsals are so fun!” Diamond told The Commentator. “Everyone in the cast is hilarious and incredibly talented. Even though I’ve heard these scenes delivered many times over the course of rehearsals, they always feel fresh and all the actors make sure to infuse their performances with so much emotion and intention.”
Hirsch shared with The Commentator that she thought Yeshiva University offered her a unique environment to perform the play.
“I feel very grateful to have this kind of professional theater opportunity at college,” Hirsch said, “and not have to sacrifice any of my Jewish halachic values — no questions asked. This is a reality that, to my knowledge, only exists in this country at Yeshiva University.”
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Photo Caption: SCDS will perform “The Mousetrap” this December
Photo Credit: Tzivia Major