MONASH PERFORMING ARTS CLUB’S (MPAC)
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
Every year, the Monash Performing Arts Club (MPAC) puts on a play that ranges from three to four hours long and this year is no exception! With the title of their play, ‘And Then There Was One’, I had already expected a full on suspenseful play to take place!
And boy, I was not wrong!
The play consisted of many fun characters that either puts you on edge with how sassy they are or tugs your heartstrings at some of the horrible things the character is going through or has gone through!
The main character centres around Edgar, who invites everyone to his dinner party. His sister, Lenore, is in charge of sending the invites. After waiting around, Edgar gets anxious and we watch how the siblings bicker before the doorbell rings. And yes, folks! The props team brought a real door to the stage!
The first person to arrive on the scene is Ernest, Edgar’s friend who we learn quickly just came out from patrol. He wears a tracker device around his ankles and violated all his parole conditions to find Edgar. His motive for coming was to see if Edgar could give him a place to sleep to which Edgar quickly denies him.
This is where the ‘Christmas Party’ was mentioned for the first time. We learn that Ernest was a sexually-active man carrying STD and on the day of the Christmas Party, had a liaison with Edgar’s stepmother; who we learned is Lenore’s real mother.
As we move along the play, getting introduced to the characters, we meet characters such as Louisa who was Edgar’s ex-girlfriend who went a little crazy with jealousy. Their relationship ended because Louisa deemed Annabel, Edgar’s past flame, to have come to ruin it between them. The Christmas Party was again mentioned, showing that Louisa had done something incredibly crazy regarding Edgar’s things when Mary, Edgar’s co-worker came bursting into the house looking for him. Mary looked up to Louisa for what she had done to Edgar’s things on the Christmas Party though we were not aware of what Louisa did until later in the play.
We, then, get introduced to Charlotte Tunt, whose father was very powerful in the small town this story took place in. She always talked about making her father proud, showing us how dependent she was on her father’s approval. Father John was then introduced into the play as a greedy, sleazy man and possibly hinted as a pedophile when he comes to find Charlotte’s father to talk about the windmill being built next to his church. He finds Charlotte instead and demands the construction to stop only to get into a brief, tense fight with her when she starts interrogating him and accusing him of being a pedophile.
H.G. and Emily were brought into the scene next as a married couple. H.G. was a stoic, and emotionless man, catching Lenore’s interest immediately with his science-talk. It put Emily on edge throughout the entire play until towards the last scene. H.G. brought in a radio as a gift to the dinner party and played the radio where we uncover a breaking news about a criminal escaping a mental asylum. When the announcer described the person, it was a hilarious moment when each description matched one of the characters before ‘A hook for a hand and recently bleached hair’ was announced and it fit no one.
We learn then of Darshan’s existence, though mentioned briefly.
Oscar, a B-list actor who took pride in his own movies walked into the scene while Mary and Edgar were having a fight. Mary accused Edgar of killing their boss, Mr Kaito and Edgar denied it. Oscar was sassy and had a huge hatred towards Mary because of the reviews Mary wrote in the The Daily about his movies.
The group of friends, while had their moments of bickering, decided to play charade while Edgar anxiously waited for Annabel’s arrival. It was also revealed to us that everyone knew of Annabel’s engagement with someone else but Edgar. When Annabel arrives in the middle of the charade game, we see Edgar flustered only to find out about her engagement with Eddie, a man that knows every one in the dinner party.
Darshan finally reveals himself through a series of clever lightning tricks. He was a paralysed man with a hook for his hand, but every one of the characters except for Charlotte were closely acquainted with him. The game of charades proceeded until the light goes out and Eddie was found dead drinking Lenore’s soup.
It was then the count death and the mystery of it all began.
They soon found a note that stated that no one should get help unless they wanted to die. It was tense between the characters and when everyone, especially Louisa started to panic, we watch the tenseness in the atmosphere increase. It was then, the count death went up to two with Louisa’s death. H.G. hypothesised it was probably cyanide poisoning from the wine she drank which indicated someone in the group of people poisoned the drinks. Next, Mary died when she decided to leave the house. When she walked out, she was shot in the stomach and died, cursing Edgar as she believed Edgar was the murderer.
It was then the lights went off and everyone had to separate, suspicious of each other of who the killer was though most of them suspected it was Edgar. Annabel and Edgar separated to go look for candles in his bedroom, H.G. and Lenore went to the attic to fix the fuse box, Oscar, Father John and Ernest went to find candles as a group of three, Darshan and Charlotte went to look for candles in the study and finally, leaving Emily alone in the kitchen.
That was the end of the first part of the play! It was intense and enjoyable with lots of funny parts in between. Oscar’s character really shined with his sassiness and with his interaction with his audience at times. We were then given snacks by the props team before we were allowed an intermission.
The snacks were good and it prepared us to get ready for the next part of the play. We were then given Emily’s scene first. She was pacing around the kitchen, frustrated as she spoke her monologue. She complained about H.G. and she knew of his fascination of Lenore. She, then, expressed her desire to connect with him more and she revealed the fact she was pregnant and had yet to tell H.G., knowing of his response. We, then, see her figment of her imagination H.G. before the couple argued a bit.
A scream erupted in the air, ending Emily’s scene. We move on then to Lenore and H.G.’s scene where we see Lenore flirting with H.G. and yet at the same time connecting with him through their science-talk. We also learn now what Louisa did to Edgar at the Christmas Party. In jealousy rage seeing Edgar talking to Annabel, Louisa threw Edgar’s stuff out of the window and burnt them.
Another scream erupted in the air, putting their scene to an end.
We move on to Edgar and Annabel’s scene and learn of their past of how Edgar was still in love with Annabel. He seemed to be distraught and angry she got engaged to Eddie. What more, it was revealed that during the Christmas Party, Edgar had talked to Annabel and had agreed to run away with her. He waited at the station for her for sixteen hours and she never turned up. He also gifted her a present, a letter opener with her initials engraved on it, only to take the gift back and yell at how she was a bad person.
A scream once again took over the scene, halting the couple’s argument before their scene ended. The lighting tricks were amazing and so was the whole character play by the actors. The tense atmosphere really got me at the edge of my seat as I await for the next scene to be created in front of my eyes. What more, I have to give kudos to the props team for their amazing and efficient work!
And that concludes the first part of the YEP article! The second part which would feature Ernest, Oscar and Father John’s scene all the way to the conclusion including Intermission 2 will be written by none other than Madi! So, do check her article out as well to see what she has to say!
Overall, it was a great play and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. It was one of the best ways to spend my Friday night!