On Halloween, Mercyhurst Opera and the Erie Art Museum collaborated to create one spectacular event— Eerie Halloween.
The event featured a Halloween party with plenty of treats for guests including cookies, candies and a cash bar. The event started promptly at 7 p.m. with tours of the exhibits running every 10 minutes. Guests met and laughed with friends while viewing optically entertaining artwork featured in the main floor gallery.
Richard Anuszkiewicz’s stunning art work was the centerpiece of the tours, featuring multiple rooms of art that made onlookers squint, tilt their heads and move from right to left and back again.
Other exhibits included stamp art and absolutely stunning paintings of landscapes and different environments. The museum had such a collection that there didn’t seem to be enough time in the day to fully appreciate every work in its entirety.
The artwork ranges from sculptures and modern art to traditional oil on canvas paintings and everything in between. The main event of the night, a one-act opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, “The Medium,” was the perfect piece to be performed on a rainy Halloween night. Starring the talented, versatile students of the D’Angelo School of Music, the performance left some in tears and others speechless.
The Medium is the creepy tale of a drunken, spiritual medium that begins to be haunted by her own ghosts. The medium, Mercyhurst alumna Lynn Dula, ends up tragically murdering Toby (senior Adam Ferrari), and destroying everything from young love to the fragile psyche of parents who have lost their children. The story begins with Monica (senior Devon Meddock) reading her favorite book to Toby.
Because Toby is a mute, he can only listen with admiration to Monica’s words. The two lovers begin to act out the plot of the book, complete with silly costumes, when Madame ‘Baba’ Flora enters. Baba scolds the two and threatens that she’ll whip Toby if he ever touches her things again. The three begin to get the house ready for the séance that is to be held that night
When the guests arrive, Baba puts herself into a fake trance as Monica dresses up so she appears to be an apparition. When Mrs. Nolan (junior Kathleen Reveille) sees and hears her deceased daughter, it is actually Monica cleverly disguised as the 16-year-old girl. Suddenly Baba feels a cold, ghostly hand grab her throat and push her backward. She panics and orders the guests out of her house. Convinced it was Toby who did the deed, Baba begins to whip the boy and kicks him out of the house.
With Toby gone, Monica flees to her room and Baba only enters into a deeper madness. She hears voices and spins wildly around, fearing there is a spirit behind her. While in a drunken sleep, Toby sneaks back into the house to get Monica to safety. On the young couple’s way out of the house, Baba suddenly awakens and reaches for her gun.
She spins wildly and fires the gun, taunting the ghost. One of the shots hits Toby’s chest and the boy dies in Monica’s arms. The opera ends with Monica and Toby laying in a puddle of blood with Baba leaning over them, menacingly repeating “Was it you?”
Guests were encouraged to come in costume and prizes were awarded to two lucky winners. Although there were a plethora of witty, spooky and kooky costumes, both winners seemed to take extra care in getting dressed up in their best that night. The winner of a year-long membership to the Erie Art Museum was a Mercyhurst’s senior, Kirstan Orgel, for her stunning witch costume. Mercyhurst’s prize consisted of two tickets to any performance in the Performing Arts Center for this academic year.
This prize was awarded to a gentleman dressed in an extremely realistic tudor- Shakespearian costume complete with a feathered hat that seemed to be made of traditional materials. The night as a whole was an absolute success. I hope this becomes a traditional event every Halloween in the Erie Community— it certainly has the potential.