Red Masquers holds Play in a Day

Nicholas Zotos | Social Media & Ads Manager | Students rehearsing the play, which they only got the script for hours earlier.

Nicholas Zotos | Social Media/Ads Manager

Sept. 29, 2022

On Saturday, the Red Masquers performed a series of one-act plays that were anything but ordinary. The Red Masquers, the oldest amateur theater company in Pittsburgh, is a student performing arts organization within Duquesne. Last weekend, the organization hosted its annual series of “one-day, one-act plays,” where students are given 24 hours to write, create a soundtrack, choreograph and even memorize their short performances.

“This is a long standing tradition we have within the organization. The performers were given their assignments at 8 p.m. on Friday, and their respective plays commenced at 8 p.m. the next day. Having the students compose an entire act by themselves can be chaotic,” said Victoria Kapfer, President of the Red Masquers.

Despite the time constraint, the performers rose to the challenge. Each act was only 10 minutes in length, but the students spent most of the day extensively preparing.

“I have been up for a while. It was tough, but I wanted to do something different and help my friends. This has turned out to be super fun. I like making my own improvisations and the idea of creating a unique character,” said Alexa Cross, a freshman performer.

However, what made the “one-day, one-act plays” especially unique was not the time constraint, but rather the topic assigned to each student.

“It wasn’t just the one day constraint that made this difficult. It was the topic. On Friday, each director pulled out two words from a hat and paired them together. Each group received two unique words to base their acts on. My group’s words were ‘turkey’ and ‘hospital’” said Amelia Lau, another freshman performer. “Turkey and hospital are not two words that go together. By pairing random words we had to think outside the box to create our one-act play.”

The uniqueness of each play was evident as the students began to perform. The order of the scenes were as follows: “The Final Frontier,” “Greener Pastures,” and “Turkey in a Hospital.”

“The names are interesting, but they reflect upon what objects were assigned to each group. For example, “Greener Pastures” is about three cows who live under an oppressive farmer. Their words were, ‘cow’ and ‘tyrannical’,” said Morgan Sanzimier, another freshman performer. “I specifically play a nurse in ‘Turkey in a Hospital.’ I have also been acting since I was 9-years-old. To me, this is something that was unique and enjoyable.”

While most of the cast were freshmen, there were upperclassmen performers as well. The performers were also not exclusively theater majors. In fact, the majority of the cast were from a diverse set of majors like pharmacy, nursing and liberal arts.

The show lasted for approximately 45 minutes, and over 50 people were in attendance.

“I think the show turned out well. I know the process can be stressful, but everything has turned out absolutely phenomenal. At the end of the day everyone gets to experience three very interesting, funny and goofy shows,” Kapfer said.

The organization has an upcoming event for the holiday season.

“Our next show is ‘SpongeBob [The Musical]’ which we as a cast are very excited for. We also have a showcase event that is sponsored for charity in December. This is something that we take pride in, and we are looking forward to many more productions this year,” Kapfer said.

Students are encouraged to join the organization and attend the events in the coming months.

“For me, this is something that all students can enjoy and partake in when they are feeling stressed or bored on campus. Having fun is so important, and doing this with my friends is a memory that will last,” Lau said.