(Posted Oct. 29, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Brace yourself for the Brewsters as London High School’s drama department shines a bright spotlight on a dark comedy, “Arsenic and Old Lace,” Nov. 5-7. Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is $6. A free dress rehearsal performance is open to senior citizens at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 with refreshments at 6:30.
The Brewsters are a family of murderous lunatics, with the exception of Mortimer (played by Zack Case), a drama critic who wrangles his relatives and deals with the police while figuring out whether or not to marry Elaine (Elisabeth Weidner), a preacher’s daughter.
The family includes Mortimer’s two elderly aunts, Abby (Elena Richardson) and Martha (Sarah George), who murder lonely, old men with poison-laced wine. Then there’s Mortimer’s brother, Teddy (Jacob Green), who thinks he is Theodore Roosevelt and digs locks for the Panama Canal in the basement, which in turn serve as graves for the aunts’ victims.
Another brother, Jonathan (Aaron Gates), has a penchant for murder, too. To conceal his identity, he has received plastic surgery from an alcoholic accomplice, Dr. Einstein (Nathan Adkins).
The crazy cast of characters also includes: Rev. Harper (Anthony Davenport), Officer O’Hara (Mitchell Rees), Officer Brophy (Courtney McPeek), Officer Klein (Ruth Peart), Lieut. Rooney (Leila Oswalt), Mr. Gibbs (Andrew Brand), Mr. Witherspoon (Hobbes Treynor), and two narrators, played by Ally Robertson and Carson Clawson. Clawson and Alex Davenport are the show’s co-directors. Davenport also serves as stage manager.
“I chose ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ because it’s a classic,” said Scott Blanton, who has directed plays at London High School for 16 years. “It’s been 10 years since the Madison County Arts Council did it as one of their summer productions, and the high school did it years ago. It was time to bring it back.”
The play is chockful of dialogue, which means cast members had lots of lines to learn. Blanton said the students are tackling the challenge head-on.
“They’ve been doing lots of line drills. They’ll meet at lunch or use a studyhall, or meet in the hall outside of my room to go over lines,” he said.
Roughly half of the cast also is in marching band, which qualified for state finals set for the same weekend as the play. Blanton said that he and the band director are working closely to accommodate each other’s rehearsal schedules. Come performance weekend, the students pulling double-duty will compete with the band during the day and hit the stage at night.
“We’re excited to put on the play for the community. I hope a lot of people will come out and enjoy the show,” Blanton said.