ELKO – Put your amateur sleuthing skills to the test when you watch Elko High School’s next play, ‘Murder’s in the Heir.’
The Interactive Murder Mystery begins a run of four performances on April 14 and is EHS Drama Club’s second production this year.
It’s the conclusion of a busy second semester for the Drama Club, said counselor and teacher Jeanine Hoskins. The Drama Club held its “Dinner in Oz” fundraiser in February and immediately plunged into planning and rehearsals for the latest production.
The Drama Club and Drama class students brought the idea of a murder mystery to Hoskins earlier in the school year, initially wanting to use the genre for their dinner theater. However, Hoskins said she promised it for spring production. “They didn’t let me forget. They really wanted to do this.
“Murder’s in the Heir” appealed to Hoskins for his humor and his ability to expand for a double cast. But the script also allows for more than one ending to occur in each performance.
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“It could be a different ending every night, which made it appealing to me and the students,” Hoskins said.
During intermission, the audience votes on who they think killed the play’s victim, Simon Starkweather III. “Technically, there could be a different killer every night. It was a bit difficult because each student has to memorize and practice the lines and blocks for this scene,” she said.
“It’s been perfect,” added Hoskins. “Each student brings a different personality to the killer’s lines. It became super fun.
Hoskins praised the members of the Drama Club and the drama class for “standing up and rising to the challenge.” They even rehearsed four days after their spring break.
Enthusiasm for theater reaches students who also participate in groups, speeches and debates, choirs and sports, observed deputy principal Jo Brown.
“They still made a commitment to come and be part of the Drama Club four days a week, including spring break and at least two Saturdays. And they all did it with a smile. That’s the amazing part,” Jo Brown said.
The show is at 7 p.m. on April 14 and 15 at the Elko High School Performing Arts Auditorium. Two more performances are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 16.
The Saturday morning show will be in American Sign Language interpreted by ASL volunteers.
Tickets will be sold at the door, $10 for the general public and $5 for students.
The cast and crew of the play encouraged audiences to plan to attend as many shows as possible to get the most out of the experience.
“This piece is interesting and I think you should come see it,” said actor Andrew Wodesky. “It’s funny [and] entertaining. There are twists in there.
He said it was his first year participating in a drama club, giving him and other members a chance to “do stuff like that and entertain a lot of people.”
When audience members vote for the prime suspect, the room changes direction with each performance, said prop master Hailey Siebold.
“There will always be a different outcome and it will never be the same,” Siebold said. “It’s very funny and there’s a lot of comedy.”
Actor Richard Fericks agreed that the interactive aspect makes each show’s ending a surprise.
“The more shows you come to, the more likely you are to see a different mix of the way things are,” Fericks said. “It’s a great show. There’s laughter, there’s darkness, obviously like a murder mystery. It’s a very good show and I encourage you to watch it.
“This piece is very unique and very different in its own way,” sophomore Lydia Wellman said. She said each show would be unique due to the two different casts. “All of them have different jokes in the way they say them. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Wellman is the onstage “director” of the play, Gene Culpepper, who interrupts the show and breaks the character. “I think it’s very funny to be able to do that. I love my role,” she said.
Hoskins said that for the first play, the club received community support from several individuals and companies, including Kinross Bald Mountain for set design and Franklin Building Supply and the Bowers family who “helped lower the cost of the wood for our decor. We are grateful.”
Kinross sent a crew to build the sets, which turned into theater building lessons, Hoskins added. “They spent many days and evenings working alongside the students and teaching them how to build apartments safely.”
Thanks also to Kelly Moon, Dawn Bartlett and Karen Rogers for directing the sound and lights during the performances.
Next year, students can take Theater Tech, a new class focused on the technical side of productions at EHS. It will be formatted as a vocational and technical training course, Hoskins added.
The play is the first theatrical production inside the new performing arts building, which comes with a “tremendous learning curve” in dealing with lights and sounds, Hoskins said.
Audiences should expect flashing lights and loud thundering sounds during the play, “but the effects are pretty fun,” she added.
After the success of “Dinner in Oz”, Hoskins said the club gained more students and supporters, including Jo Brown, who joined the current production as an assistant director in charge of costumes and set design. .
Jo Brown said she got involved after hearing “amazing” things about Hoskins and the Drama Club from her daughter who is a freshman at EHS. It was also a dream come true for Brown, who loves participating in local theater productions.
“For years I have been looking for a chance to work with the theater department because theater is vital for our children,” she said.
She said she also wanted to bring the theater to children with autism and praised the cast for accepting other students who have been diagnosed with ADHD, autism or depression. “We have such an amazing cast. Neurodiversity helps these children cope in many ways. No one makes a big deal. Everything is normalized. These kids are so amazing with it.
In addition to Kinross, Hoskins said other community organizations have reached out to support the club, including Ghost Light Productions who volunteered to host a workshop for drama students and Bartlett from the Great Basin College Theater who works as a theater technician II.
“It’s good that we’ve brought the whole community together for these kids,” Hoskins said. “Because that’s what it’s about, it’s about the kids. The theater does amazing things for them.
Emma Katharine Brown, who has starred in several productions including “Dinner in Oz” in February, said portraying characters helps her overcome her anxiety about rehearsing and acting in front of others.
“Theater club [means] lots of practice to help me be a lot less anxious and less stage scared,” Emma Brown explained. “It allows me to be something I’m not, to escape into an imaginary world and perform for people. It’s like putting a book in front of them.”
Prop master Hailey Seibold said those who are inspired to get involved in acting should “go for it. You can create memories. You meet new people. You discover another part of yourself and it’s a different experience.
“I thought maybe I would feel weird doing drama the first time around, but I realized that was me,” Seibold continued. “I can escape my life and go be something else or I can express my emotions and I can change my emotions. I’m lucky to have new friends and experience another part of life and a new chapter.
Senior Abby Carrillo said she had always been interested in acting and singing, but EHS did not have a drama club until this year.
“I was very excited to learn in my senior year that I was finally going to take Drama Club with my twin and my little sister,” she added.
Carrillo agreed that club members were “very welcoming”.
“They talk to you a little bit and that makes you more open,” Carrillo explained. “Slowly you become more social.”
Assistant Props Manager Kendall Neff joined the Drama Club this year. She said she learned the amount of work it takes to pre-produce a play and that working behind the scenes was “pretty cool”.
“I had no idea there was so much behind the pieces,” Neff continued. “I didn’t know there were lights and sounds, so it was really cool to experience.”
Laila Bowers, who played Dorothy in “Dinner in Oz,” plays a lawyer in “Murder’s in the Heir.” She said her experience this year in both productions “has been nothing but smiles.”
“I love acting and I love all the opportunities that come with Drama Club and I’m in the drama class at Elko High School,” she said. “I learned so much about acting and technique [side] theater. »
“I love drama and I love acting,” Bowers continued. “It fulfills my youth and my dreams of becoming an actress.”