Thief Steals the Show
By JONAS OLSON
Nearly $9,000 was stolen from the Schuyler Theater last night, threatening to shut down the much-awaited Drama Department production of Pygmalion. Next week's scheduled opening has been indefinitely postponed until alternative funds can be found to pay for the replacement of the theatre's moribund sound system. The system finally gave out last month during the problem-plagued production of The Music Man when the Eulalie Shin character shouted "Balzac!" so close to the microphone during "Pick a Little Talk a Little" that an electrical shock threw her to the ground and simultaneously blew out the speakers and the amp.
With this theft, it looks like Pygmalion may have picked up the curse where The Music Man left off. Producer/director/star Dylan Atkins was near tears as he told The Misc about the events leading up to his discovery of the fact that a strongbox containing advanced ticket-sale proceeds in the amount of $8,745.75 was empty. Neither Mr. Atkins nor Campus Security Chief Dick Francis, nor Cliffton Police Detective, Elizabeth Goswell) had any clue as to what might have happened to the funds.
According to Mr. Atkins, the locked strongbox was kept inside a locked safe inside the Schuyler box office in the lobby of Cliff Hall. He had, himself, secured all locks and combinations on Sunday night following the evening rehearsal. When he returned at nine a.m. the following morning to take delivery of the sound system from Noisy Stuff Audio-Video, Mr. Atkins was shocked and dismayed to discover that the strongbox was empty. When the delivery men realized that Mr. Atkins was unable to pay for the new sound system, they packed it back into their truck and took it back.
"No tickee, no sound feed," explained Albert Lowd, President of Noisy Stuff. "I can't afford to give this stuff away."
The Cliff AV staff offered to set up a P.A. system so that the show could go on, but Mr. Atkins would not even entertain the idea. "This production is a revolutionary interpretation of George Bernard Shaw's classic comedy of manners in which we've created a sound pastiche that becomes a virtual character in the play. No way can we pull this off with a P.A. The feedback alone would kill us."
Freshman Carly Cliff, pictured here in costume, stars as Eliza Doolittle in the now endangered production of Pygmalion
College Security Chief Francis was less than sympathetic to the victims of this crime: "What the hell were they doing keeping that kind of cash around for, anyway?! When the hell is this college going to learn that you can't trust kids!" But he did promise to put his assistant, Oliver Hagger, on the case immediately, explaining that his own time is "Pretty well filled up to the tippy-top with the murder thing these days."
According to Detective Goswell, there were no fingerprints or any other trace clues to assist her department in investigating the theft, but she is determined to get to the bottom of it because, "I already bought tickets and was really looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about."
When asked about the likelihood that this, the final production of the Cliff College Drama Department this season, would be able to proceed, Mr. Atkins was cautiously optimistic: "I don't know. We're talking to the insurance company, but they're trying to squirm out of it. Maybe the Trustees will bail us out."
Mr. Atkins rallied his troops with a rousing ten-minute speech which condemned the heinous crime for the attack on the arts that it constituted, damned the "villainous thief who would rob a culturally-starved population of their opportunity to drink at the fountain of dramatic inspiration", praised the cast -- especially the charm and beauty of his co-star, Carly Cliff -- and thanked the crew, led by "Karen Leigh Archibald's lighting design, the brilliance of which is all the more obvious without sound."
One witness, Rad Cliff, seemed unmoved by Mr. Atkins' histrionics. Mr. Cliff, a self-described "production slacker", wondered, "What's the big deal? They just need to project. How do they think the Greeks did it?"