By Charlene Wirtz
The latest dinner theatre presented by the Wadena Players Theatre (WPT) was a production of The Mousetrap, a popular play written by famous author Agatha Christie. The play has been running in London, England, first at the Ambassador Theatre, then at the St. Martin’s Theatre next door, since its debut in 1952. The play is popular elsewhere as well, in theatres both large and small. This past weekend the WPT gave it some local touches, which the audience enjoyed.
All the actors threw themselves into their roles for the performances in the period piece. While the mystery drama is a change for the troupe, they did a good job and the rapt audience showed its appreciation.
The setting is a boardinghouse not long after the Second World War, and new owners Molly (Sharon Deschamps) and Giles (Mark Sweatman) welcome their first visitors as the snow falls. Soon snowed in, the residents of the boardinghouse learn that a murderer may be among them, and they have to find out who it is!
Innkeeper Molly discovers the ornery Mrs Boyle, murdered.
The twist ending is famous for the tradition of requesting that theatre-goers keep the murderer’s identity secret. The audience could participate each night by buying 50/50 tickets as ballots and voting for the character they thought was the murderer. Needless to say, there was much speculation between acts!
Miss Casewell and Christopher Wren provided many of the play’s humorous moments.
The cast included Dustin Mikush as the radio announcer, Sharon Deschamps as Molly, Mark Sweatman as Giles, Mike Wolfe as Christopher Wren, Jackie Lindstrom as Mrs. Boyle, Pat Casement as Major Metcalf, Marilee Lazar as Miss Casewell, Jordan Willcox as Paravicini, and Bruce Godhe as Detective Sergeant Trotter.
Giles is suspicious of his wife Molly’s attentions to guest Mr Wren.
The weekend was made possible not only by its hardworking actors but by the efforts of many who never appeared onstage. The play was directed by Anastassia, who goes by one name only, and produced by Pat Casement; the capable crew was Wanda Jones prompting, Duane Sweatman on lighting, Dane Ward on sound, Wanda Sweatman as stage manager, Dustin Mikush as assistant stage manager; MaryAnne Rutko applied the makeup, and the amazing wardrobe ladies were Kathy Price, Wanda Sweatman and Linda Turnbull.
Some of the cast and crew were (back row, left to right) Wanda Sweatman, Mark Sweatman, Dustin Mikush, Bruce Godhe, Pat Casement, Wanda Jones, (front row, left to right) Sharon Deschamps, Mike Wolfe, Marilee Lazar, Jordan Wilcox and Jackie Lindstrom.
Other support was provided by Judi Moroz, who designed the stage set; Dean Bodnaryk, who constructed it; house manager Claire Enright, hostess Fara Halls, concession provided by Jason Collings, marketing for the production by Wayne Lazar, Pat Casement promoting, and Alison Squires of Wadena News handled the printing.