Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Flustered Playwright Scrambles to Deliver Murder Mystery at Roxy

The North Nodaway School Play, “Murders in the Heir,” was a scramble to get done because Billy St. John, the author, wanted to get the play just right. He was constantly calling Mr. T, the director, with one last-minute change after another. There was one problem – Mr. St. John could never make up his mind who the murderer ought to be. Consequently, the audience had to vote on who the murderer was. The cast had to practice all five scenarios and be ready to do any one of five, depending on who was the unlucky winner.

The eccentric billionaire, Simon Starkweather, one of the world’s first, summoned his entire family down to his home in the backwoods to tell them about important changes to his will. He announced to shocked family members and servants that as of the next morning, the will, which had initially provided generously for them after he was gone, would be null and void. Instead, he designated a surrogate parent to raise him up after he was cloned using a new, experimental procedure. The money would be kept in trust and be used to pay expenses, except for some token gifts to family members, and once Simon came of age again, he would be free to begin making money again – and perhaps becoming the world’s first trillionaire.

Mr. Starkweather (Garrett Torres), despite all his wealth, was on his last legs. He needed an oxygen tank, machines, medicine, and round the clock nursing care just to stay alive. There was no time to waste, and the signing of the new will was set for tomorrow morning. As family members expressed their anger and consternation over what had just happened, a storm that had been moving in the area got out of hand, knocking out the power, and forcing everyone to rely on candles – another thing that all Mr. Starkweather’s wealth could not prevent. But before the will could be signed, there was a ringing of the bell, which Mr. Starkweather used to summon the nurse. When he was brought out, everyone realized he was dead. “Maybe the old man did himself in,” said Rufus (Jordan Snyder), the hick servant at the bottom of the totem pole who everyone wondered why he hadn’t been fired yet. But the truth turned out to be much more sinister – he had been strangled to death, and it had been made to look natural. It was up to Mike Davis (Cole Bird), the investigator, to piece together the puzzle since the power was out and the police would not have access to the place until the morning.

Cast members were Garrett Torres, Faith Adwell, Drew Roderick, Emily Dew, Trevor Brown, Kelsi Oberhauser, Leslie Richardson, Bailey Tate, Jordan Snyder, Abigail Ferguson, Jaiden Hopkins, Layna Murphy, Cole Bird, Greg Thompson, Shelbie King, and The Cat. Director was Nine Dewhurst. Props Mistress was Tarynne Poe. In charge of lights was Madison Thompson. In charge of sound was Bethany Herndon. Technical assistants were Olivia Miller and Audrey Trimble. Doing set construction were Brian Roderick, Drew Roderick, Scott Lance, Alyssabeth Roderick, and Alex Roderick. In charge of the house were Jaclyn Smail and Salena Condray. Ticket takers were Saylor Brown, Alonna Cross, Alyssabeth Roderick, and Alexus Strough.

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