“Mary O'” thrills audiences with haunted sea travels


Carina Smith

Features editor


To the delight of students, faculty and family of the cast and crew, the student production of “Mary O’” made its world premiere last weekend. The play, which was written by Adjunct Professor Matthew Schmidli, focuses on a crew that sets sail in the hopes of finding the captain’s brother who disappeared 10 years earlier while trying to navigate the Northwest Passage. However, the trip is anything but smooth and suddenly the crew has to face the possibility that they aren’t alone on the ship.

The play was no easy feat to overcome. Since it was a world premiere, the cast, crew and director had no prior productions to look back on and get ideas from. This didn’t stop them from putting on a production that looked like it came straight off the professional stages.

Stage combat is a tricky thing for most actors to get the hang of and make look authentic. The cast of “Mary O’,” however, managed to make the fist fights and showdowns feel so realistic that audiences swear each slap was real. This didn’t come to them naturally, of course. The cast’s dedication and hard work truly shows throughout the performance, making the play even more enjoyable.

The set design, lights and sound are a large part of what made the play such a hit. The boat used on stage looked like it had been taken straight from Captain Hook himself. The set design was something to be reckoned with. The production employed the use of a screen to project a star-filled sky and a map of the crew’s voyage so far.

Horror is a difficult genre to put on the stage, however the cast was able to convince audiences it was real and create a haunting atmosphere. The play overall was thrilling, capable of captivating audiences, breaking their hearts and scaring them out of their boots. Between the writing, the directing, the acting and the set, many factors went into making this play a success. Audiences in search of a thrill should certainly join the crew of the Mary O’ on their voyage.

“Mary O’” will be performed at the Polsky Theatre in the Carlson Center from Nov. 18 through Nov. 20. The Friday and Saturday night performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Saturday and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. Admission is free and seating is given out on a first come, first serve basis.


  1. Does the features editor realize that a ship in the northwest passage would be above the 70 degree latitude.? That said ship would only have, at best, two hours of night out of every 24 hours.

    • As this is a college newspaper and the article is about a play, I don’t think the author would need to research the longitude and latitude of the setting sun, correlating that to how many hours of daylight a fictional ghost ship with crew acted out on a Saturday afternoon in Kansas would have.

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