Three actors in costume during a scene from "Lights Off" by Mount Greylock Regional School. Two actors, dressed as police officers, stand beside a third actor in a suit. One officer is talking on an old-fashioned rotary phone while the other looks on with a serious expression. The background features a set designed to look like a classic British manor house.
Students rehearse "Lights Out;" left to right, Sylas Velázquez, Yeshe Gutschow Rai, and Anabel Gonzales.

Mount Greylock Students Present Original Whodunit “Lights Off”

Mount Greylock Regional School focuses the spotlight on its student-run spring drama, “Lights Off,” premiering in the school’s auditorium at 1781 Cold Spring Road in Williamstown. The performances are scheduled for May 16–18 at 7 p.m.

This year’s production stands out as it is both written and directed by students, marking the first student-led production at Mount Greylock since 2018. The play, an original whodunit, was conceived by sophomore Frankie Evans and senior Quin Repetto.

“Lights Off” is a delightful sendup of Agatha Christie-style mysteries, featuring a wealthy patriarch, suspect family members, colorful servants, and insufferably cocksure detectives. The story unfolds in the stately Phipps Manor in the sleepy backwater of Phippsfordshire, where scandal and murder challenge the local constabulary. With witty wordplay and classic physical comedy, the play is designed to entertain mystery lovers of all ages.

Quin Repetto shared how the idea for the student-run production originated: “The idea came about during last year’s Spring drama, where both Frankie and I served as assistant directors. We bonded over our shared interests in writing and directing, and we ultimately agreed it would be fun to run the Spring Drama together this year. Personally, I also wanted to garner more experience in writing and directing, as theater is an area I’m interested in pursuing in college.”

Three actors on stage during a scene from "Lights Off" by Mount Greylock Regional School. One actor, dressed in a suit and gloves, holds a fluffy object up to their ear. The second actor, wearing a hat and leather jacket, smiles while holding up a leopard print cloth. The third actor, dressed in a dark pinstripe suit and glasses, looks serious. The background features a set designed to look like a classic British manor house, with a green wall and a clock.
Clever word play and more than a little slapstick awaits in “Lights Off” at Mt. Greylock Regional School this week; left to right Henry Wall, Sabine Guerra, and Morris Israel.

Frankie Evans added, “We knew of past student-run productions. Historically, Spring Drama was supposed to be more student-led, but after COVID, everything got a little weird. We wanted to bring back the student-led aspect to Mount Greylock. Quin and I have an interest in both directing and writing, and we’re very grateful for the chance to explore these passions.”

The inspiration for the play stemmed from their shared love for mysteries. “Once we settled on writing a play ourselves, we very quickly decided on it being a murder mystery, mystery being one of the favourite genres of both of us. From there, it was just a matter of putting together a plot over almost a year of writing. The inspiration stems heavily from the mysteries of Agatha Christie, and the play is an almost archetypal manor-house mystery, complete with a murdered nobleman and a host of suspicious suspects. However, the play also serves as a loving parody of these kinds of mysteries, playing with tropes such as the secret passage and the titular ‘someone’s turned off the lights!'”‘ effect.”

Lights Off

Performances scheduled for May 16–18 at 7:00 p.m.

Mount Greylock Regional School
1781 Cold Spring Road
Williamstown Mass.
$10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens, and $5 for students.

Evans elaborated on the process: “Quin suggested we have it center around the police officer, and so we started to craft the show. In early drafts, we were going back and forth between humor and an interesting plot, but I think we’ve found a good balance. What made things really fun was writing the cliches found in classics and poking fun.”

Producing an original mystery came with its challenges. “The main challenge with producing a play that has never been done before is that there’s practically nothing to take inspiration from in terms of sets and costumes and the like. Fortunately, we have the advantage that we wrote the play ourselves, so we already have a general idea of what we want everything to look like. Further inspiration for the overall feel of the thing comes, as I mentioned, from classic British murder mysteries such as Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot. We’ve also been very fortunate to have the wonderful help of our advisor, Tom Ostheimer, and our stage managers, Grace Winters and Indira Semon Pike, who have been essential in putting costumes, props, and set pieces together.”

Their collaborative process as writers and directors was also a significant learning experience. “We’ve been able to work together quite well both as writers and as directors! Obviously, our writing styles and directorial styles do differ in some ways, but we’ve always managed to reach a compromise so that the play comes together the way both of us want it to look, a way that reflects our united creative vision.”

Evans echoed the sentiment: “It was really fun to hang out in Quin’s room and make each other laugh with the lines we created. Sometimes editing was hard, but we got through it and the end product is worth it. Directing has been fun and writing with a partner has been a really informative experience. Sometimes Quin sees things I wouldn’t have seen, and we both complement and support each other.”

A group of young actors on stage during a rehearsal for "Lights Off." They are dressed as detectives and reporters, wearing trench coats, hats, and glasses. Each actor holds a notepad and pencil, striking an exaggerated investigative pose. The background features a set designed to look like a classic British manor house, complete with a green wall and framed artwork.
Students in costume during the last week of rehearsal for “LIghts Out;” Left to right: Back row: Sam Berry, Drew Zuckerman, Malcom Chapman, Phoenix DeMyer; Middle Row: Keaton Repetto, Rafa Mason, Sam Beck, Roi Snyder; Front row: Braelyn Kelly, Levi Cohen-McFall.

Repetto also shared what he learned from the project: “directing’s definitely been quite an involved — albeit fun — challenge. I can definitely see how I’ve grown more comfortable with directing over the last few months. I’ve become more confident in giving notes to actors and giving them a better idea of what I want to happen. I’ve also become a bit better in organisation and coordination — never my strong suit — and have started to feel more comfortable juggling all the different aspects that go into putting on a play.”

Evans added, “I’ve learned a lot about what lines work and don’t because in your head, everything is funny, but when you put it on its feet, it’s just not what you saw in your head. Also I’ve learned a lot about tone and how to better communicate what your vision is.”

The students have found directing their peers to be both rewarding and challenging. Evans admitted, “I would say it’s hard to switch from talking to your friend to talking to an actor/director and sometimes it’s hard to give and take notes from a peer. But really, everyone’s been super supportive of us and patient and kind.”

Tickets for “Lights Off” are available online at $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens, and $5 for students. Visit bit.ly/3QwM3K8 or scan the QR code on show posters to purchase tickets.

Join the Mount Greylock community in celebrating the creativity and hard work of these talented students as they bring “Lights Off” to life on stage.

Jason Velázquez

Jason Velázquez has worked in print and digital journalism and publishing for two decades.
Phone: (413) 776-5125

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