USNA Masqueraders Perform Popular Stage Play

Story Number: NNS131120-06Release Date: 11/20/2013 12:18:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kiona Miller, Defense Media Activity Reserve Unit

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- The U.S. Naval Academy's theater group The Masqueraders performed Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" for fellow students, faculty, and the general public inside of the Mahan Theatre, on the academy campus Nov. 15.

The play continues its run through Nov. 23rd.
"The Masqueraders is the theater club on the yard," said Midshipman 3rd Class Megan Rausch, who played Miss Prism during the production. "We do strictly theater, and we are unique because we don't do a lot of technical effects, such as using microphones. Dr. [Christy] Stanlake prefers the traditional theater and using the voice to fill the theater."

The theater troupe's long history dates back to 1907 when the USNA Commandant of Midshipmen granted the Masqueraders its official status as an extracurricular activity for students. Since then, the group has performed musicals, dramas and comedies such as the "HMS Pinafore" and the "Serenade." Since the 1980s, play selections reflected serious issues and ethical questions facing the nation's military leaders.

"The Masqueraders is a great organization that I stumbled into my plebe year," said Midshipman 2nd Class Jamie Moroney, who starred as Gwendolen Fairfax. "They had a flyer looking for participants for a play. I've never done it before, and I thought it would be fun. It's just like one big family; everybody works hard and encourages each other, I love it."

The production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" uses humor to address social issues during the Victorian era in London such as marriage and economic class differences. The play follows two friends in a quest to find love during a time where strict rules of good society were enforced.

"I portrayed Algernon Moncrief, who is extravagant and flamboyant and is good friends with Jack Worthing, who is the main character of the play," said Midshipman 2nd Class James Frevola. "The show revolves around Algernon and Jack getting into trouble, including mistaken identities and trying to go off into the country and causing all kinds of problems."

With both academic and military obligations, inserting extracurricular activities into a full schedule may seem difficult. However, according to Midshipman 1st Class Jennifer Underhill, balancing school work and an extracurricular activity is not challenging, because it's fun.

"This is my escape into being a little more artsy and a little bit more on the liberal arts side," said Underhill, who played Cecily Cardew. "I'm a chemistry major by trade, so most of what I do is technical work. I'm also a platoon commander so I'm in charge of other squads plus my platoon. There's also a lot of paperwork, so it's not so much a balancing act as it is an escape for me to do something else for a while."

The cast and crew have spent the past eight weeks preparing for the production. Preparation included four to six weeks of scene work and two weeks of technical work, which included 300 combined manpower hours contributed to building the set for show.

Upcoming dates for the show include Nov. 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at, and by phone by calling (410) 293-TIXS.

For more information on the Masqueraders, visit

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