Laughter echoed throughout the Staller Center’s Recital Hall yesterday during the performance of the production, “Okay, Who Pea’d the Mattress?”
Students were in charge of acting, directing, choreographing and even writing for the show. The play essentially followed the story of “The Princess and the Pea,” where a young woman’s eligibility to date the son of the wicked headmistress was determined by a test of her physical sensitivity; whether she could feel a pea under a mattress. The show more or less was based off of the play, “Once Upon a Mattress,” but since the rights for the show couldn’t be obtained, students Katelyn Gilbert and Susan Yin rewrote it.
The entire production was made possible by the Stony Brook Musical, the only performing group on campus that transforms music and dance into student run shows. The group is not yet an official Stony Brook club but the group hopes that by next semester they will be.
Before the show began, there were small performances given by the Stony Brook Vocalists and some of the actors. The first half of the play introduced the characters and the whacky plot line where a strict and cruel headmistress forbade any physical affection in her school until her do-no-wrong son could find a girlfriend of his own. Songs from Broadway shows like “Phantom of the Opera” or “Wicked” as well as Disney songs such as “Be A Man,” from “Mulan,” and “A Whole New World,” from “Aladdin” were used appropriately in accordance to what was going on in the show.
There was a certain uniqueness about the production since unlike a typical play, the story’s narrator constantly broke out of scenes to interact with the audience. The writing in the show didn’t just include humor from the characters’ problems, but also included references to outside-the-plot humor such as Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” or Antoine Dodson’s “Bed Intruder” song.
After the show, actors in the cast such as Allison Meyers, a junior majoring in psychology, and Morgan Tan, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, said that they had a great time being a part of the show. The dedication of the actors was seen in the performance and their consistent and intense practices for the past two weeks paid off. “It was very frustrating towards the middle,” said Meyers. “But, I’m glad I stuck with it. I would definitely do another show.”
Chiwei Chang a junior majoring in music, had the idea of putting the play together. He noticed that although the school had Pocket Theater, it lacked in musical productions. So, he decided to hang fliers, and hold auditions, which wound up attracting around 60 people. Chang was no stranger to putting on a show. When he was at Purchase College, he put on a short instrumental play and found the process a fun thing to do. “I’m very happy with how it turned out,” Chang said. “I loved the audience’s reactions and I think everyone loved it.” Next semester, he hopes to put on another show which will be completely original.
“My favorite part of the show was the “Be a Man” scene,” said Tony Zheng, a senior majoring in computer science. He attended in support of a suitemate who acted in the show. “I thought it was really good and definitely worth seeing.”