A fourth grade class and a missing hamster makes for a not-so sweet situation

Masha the hamster is the model for the “Butterscotch” posters that have been circulating around the campus.  

By Megan Lupo 

Walking around campus, students may have noticed lost hamster signs taped throughout academic and student buildings. 

Although many may have wondered why Ms. Gold’s fourth grade class were trying to find their class pet on Rider’s campus, those missing poster’s are actually advertisements for the upcoming student-written play, “Butterscotch,” a hamster murder mystery, according to sophomore musical theater major Dylan Erdelyi. 

Taking place in a fourth-grade classroom at the imaginary Hawk Hills elementary school, the performances will be held in an unconventional location– a Rider classroom in Memorial Hall room 304 from April 26 to 28. 

“It kind of developed throughout the process because, at first, it was a space issue. I thought we might do it in the Spitz but then I thought it might be hard to book it,” Erdelyi said. “Me and my friend were looking around different spaces on campus, and I was like ‘Where would this play work? It’s set in a classroom, so why don’t we do it in a classroom?’ I just walked through Memorial [Hall], Lynch Adler [Hall], and then I found these classrooms in Memorial [Hall] that were huge, so I was like ‘OK this could totally work in here.’”

Although the classroom setting posed a series of challenges for accoustics and lighting, Erdelyi said that it was an opportunity for him, the crew and the 11 cast members to be creative and versatile. 

For freshman musical theater major Grace Auer, who recently starred in “A Broncway Princess Party,” the unique performing environment was an element that she had to adjust to, as she has never performed anywhere else but in a theater atmosphere. 

“That’s been quite the challenge, making sure that the audience can see you at all times and being really into the idea that you’re not on a main stage,” Auer said, who plays the fourth grade goody-two shoes Susie. “You’re on a different playing field, so you’re always on your toes and always thinking. It’s really interesting.”

The avant garde venue will add to an immersive feeling for the audience, Erdelyi adds.   

Another original aspect to the play is that it has never been performed before. 

Although Valen-Marie Santos, the playwright, who is Erdelyi’s friend, goes to Northwestern University, Erdeyli said he kept her involved from the audition to rehearsal process, where the draft has been restructured four times.  

Auer has enjoyed the learning experience.  

“Something that Dylan already touched on that I have really learned so much from is that it’s always changing. If something doesn’t make sense or you’re not really getting something, you can go to the root and go from there,” Auer said. “You can always learn, and it’s always evolving and changing so it’s really cool to be a part of a show that doesnt have a preconceived notion.”

Like the ingenuity, the advertisements for the show, also, were intended to be innovative.

“I worked a lot with my marketing director, Rebecca Gialanella, a sophomore arts administration major. We wanted all of our marketing to be in the world the show. We based the Instagram on the profiles of the different characters,” Erdelyi said. “From that, we talked about graphics and tried to make it as visually interesting as we could. Then we also wanted do some fun posters.That actually gained a lot of attention from people who think there’s actually a missing hamster. It’s been pretty cool.”

To reserve tickets, visit butterscotchtheplay.com.

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