Spooky season has come to an end, so it was more than flattering to attend a play that’d pique any cat’s curiosity. With two shows that took place in the Ateneo Puertorriqueño in Old San Juan, on October 20th and 21st, Réquiem is a play written and directed by Mariangelis Correa, a fellow UPR-RP student, and it includes many teen actors and production members, most being UPR-RP students as well. It is not a UPR-RP Drama department work, but talent like this, lingering around our University, still needs to be showcased. Most of the actors have had previous theatre experience ranging from grade school up until now, and they’re certainly some to look out for!
To begin the journey that was Réquiem, let’s start with the plot. Set in October of 1890, the story is centered around Charlotte Killingworth’s 16th birthday, which happens to be the day she gets murdered during her own party. The first scene is literally Charlotte dying, so this is not a spoiler, but rather where the story starts. With Hasbro’s Clue murder-mystery vibes, no one is allowed to leave the crime scene, in which six suspects are pointed. These are Abigail (Charlotte’s mother), Elizabeth (Charlotte’s sister), Lawrence (Charlotte’s brother), Scarlett Caprice (Charlotte’s best friend), Jasper Darcy (family friend) and Bruno (the family butler). The play has a little fun with time, as it starts to go back to the hours leading up to the party (and murder) and shows interactions between each suspect and Charlotte.
The point is to look for signs, reasons, and intent in each one –five being misleading since only one is guilty. This is intriguing since it makes the audience become involved in the play. I mean, you can’t resist but start playing detective and being attentive to details to prove your case is correct. Back in “present” time, everyone keeps pointing fingers and revealing a variety of facts, happenings and the like, until, finally, the guilty party is known once the scene of Charlotte’s murder actually plays out instead of the beginning scene with her already dead. With an eerie, suspenseful dance (since the audience knew what was coming) the murderer is revealed, and it made me splurt out the loudest surprised gasp in a long time. I was shocked, but it all made sense.
So many elements go into making this play a must-see. The phenomenal acting and script that pierces your heart with SO MANY FEELS, including LGBTQ+ characters, intriguing the audience into voluntary participation, breaking the fourth wall. Even before the play, publicity was always on-theme (the tickets were “invitations” to Charlotte’s birthday party – totally cute!).
Sadly, the play was only on this two-night run. But with the great reception it has received, it might not be the last! So keep your eyes peeled, and let’s continue supporting our fellow students and their wonderful talents.
Until then, rest in peace, Charlotte Victoria Diana Killingworth.
(Yes, all the names in the play are intentionally a mouth-full but wasn’t every name in the 1890’s?)
Picture credits to Amanda Vélez