• Follow us on Instagram @MWHS.Catalyst
  • Follow us on Twitter @MWHSCatalyst for Breaking News
The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Silent Clues: Unraveling the layers of ‘’Trifles’’

The theatre department performs their annual winter play
Shibu Sharma
Pondering on the murder scene, actresses Julia Malone and Carolyn Chapin disect the situation at hand. With lots of preparation and practice, ‘’Trifles’’ transformed into a hit. ‘’I enjoyed this play very much because of how short it was,’’ Chapin said. ‘’Rehearsals were great because we could get through the whole show every time, so it felt like we were making a lot of progress.’’

Through the dates of Feb. 8, 9, 11, Millard West put on their annual winter play in ‘’Trifles’’. With a great amount of anticipation, this play was nothing short of exciting, with twists and curves.

‘’Trifles’’ is a one-act play written by Susan Glaspell, and is about a woman arrested for the murder of her husband. The play draws inspiration from the Lizzie Borden Trial in the late 19th Century. ‘’Trifles’’ then revolves around the discovery of the mysterious murder of John Wright, a character similar to one of the victims in the Borden case. This compelling story led director Brooke Phillips no choice but to select this as the next installment.

‘’I’ve been teaching the short play ‘’Trifles’’ in my theater appreciation classes for about 10 years,’’ drama director Brooke Phillips said. ‘’And every semester when I get to it, I think- “I should do that play sometime.’’ 

The play is set in a rural farmhouse in the midwest hence the ‘’old timey’’ feel of the set. Once discovering the murder of John Wright in the house, the sheriff, his wife and the county attorney arrive on the scene. While the men are searching for clues within the house, the women discover interesting details and ‘’Trifles’’. As the two women unraveled the situation, they were slowly led to believe that it was Mrs. Wright who murdered John Wright.

“In just the short 25 minutes of the play, the two women go from complete strangers to two women who have formed a bond over protecting Mrs. Wright. My character, Mrs. Hale, had already known Mrs. Wright in the past, so it was interesting trying to act like I already knew the person who lived in this house,’’ actress Julia Malone said.

Moments later, the woman found a dead canary in a birdcage with a broken neck. They also noticed how dirty and unorganized the kitchen was, which caused them to find a broken jar of frozen preserves.

‘’I really like the symbolism within the show,’’ senior stage manager Ella Konwinski said. ‘’For instance, the women understand who murdered Mr. Wright once they find the dead canary. They talk about how Minnie Foster used to sing in the choir and dress in pretty clothes, but once Mr. Wright killed the bird, he killed that part of her. It’s a detail many could have missed while watching the production, but I appreciate that one can think about the meaning afterward.’’

As the end of the play neared, the women decided to hide the evidence from the men, protecting Mrs. Wright. The men would leave the farmhouse empty-handed, unaware of what the women uncovered while left alone. In the end, we discover that sisterhood is constructed by goals, decisions and experiences.

‘’I thought the cast did a really nice job with everything in the show and I loved the whole piece,’’ Phillips said. ‘’My favorite moment of the process was whenever we made connections to the text or discoveries about meaning.  We also had fun unconventional rehearsals, where we had the actors switch gender roles, and then another where we practiced in the kitchen of the FCS room to help actors learn the feelings of poking around in a new space. Those were really memorable parts of the process.’’

Overall, Trifles was a success, especially for a play in the black box theatre. The cast and production team had a great time putting together this project. Following the theme of sisterhood, Millard West theatre will be presenting ‘’Little Women: The Broadway Musical’’ in late April.


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Brady Mar
Brady Mar, Staff Reporter
Brady is a senior and this is his first year on staff for the CATalyst staff. He is involved with golf and Special Olympics here at Millard West. He enjoys playing sports, volunteering, and bonding with his friends. He also loves traveling to new places as well as trying new foods. Brady is excited to cover Millard West sports and learn more about the students here at Millard West.

Comments (0)

All The Catalyst Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *