For those in search of some light-hearted fun, the actors of Creston’s Footlighters Theatre Society have been hard at work preparing the next production for the stage.
“Bloody Murder”, written by Ed Sala and directed by Gary Atha, will be shown at the Kootenay River Secondary School (KRSS) Theatre from March 24 to 26 at 7:30 p.m. nightly.
The play is a comedic murder mystery set in the 1930s at the large country estate of the esteemed Lady Somerset. It is a typical soirée featuring a familiar cast of characters including a drunken washed-up actor, a loyal maid, a retired military officer, and a rich aunt and her worthless nephew.
Suddenly, one of the party-goers dies of poison. Lady Somerset refuses to call the police, insisting the group gets to the bottom of the mystery themselves. But it’s not just a typical murder… there are some surprising twists in store.
The cast includes Ann Deatherage as Lady Somerset, Suzanne Chubb as Jane the maid, Zoe Marini as the countess, Jason Smith as the retired major, Rio Logan Thompson as Charles the nephew, Steve McCaughey as Devon Tremaine the actor, Peter Wishlow as chief inspector Phelps, and Kate Webb as Emma.
From an interview with the Advance, it was clear that the actors involved are very passionate about the project.
“Because times are so awful right now, I think everybody needs to get out and have a laugh occasionally,” said Deatherage, who has spent most of her life involved in theatre.
“I think the rest of the cast members feel also that it’s important to present something that will make people relax, even if it’s just for an hour or two.”
She immediately saw herself as Lady Somerset when she read the script. As she invented a backstory for the character, she added in quirks like smoking little cigars and whacking people with her cane.
“All of the characters are so hysterical in their stereotypes,” said Deatherage. “Lady Somerset is not the typical old lady, in my mind anyway.”
Chubb plays out another stereotype in the quiet, timid maid Jane. As a rather shy and introverted person, she said acting with Footlighters allows her to break out of her shell.
This is reflected in her character, who becomes more boisterous as the story goes on.
“Her character changes, like it’s a complete 180, and she starts yelling at people,” said Chubb, who has been an actor and playwright since 1988.
“I was able to expand the character and become bigger and bolder. She becomes a force, as she transforms into a totally different person.”
While it has been fun to bring the production together, it hasn’t been without its difficulties.
“This is probably the biggest challenge that I’ve ever had,” said Atha, the director, who has pursued theatre for over 20 years.
“There’s a lot of character development and changes. And there’s a lot of dialogue that isn’t necessarily conversational. So, the actors are really challenged with learning their lines and learning their cues.”
Since January, the cast have been dedicating many hours every week to rehearsing for the show. The actors also take their lines home with them to continue practicing.
“It can be a painful, painful thing, because it is so much work outside of rehearsal. I’m relying on their love of theatre and their fear of failure,” Atha laughed. “When everybody in the audience has enjoyed it, and we hear their applause - then it’s worth it.”
Tickets can be purchased at Black Bear Books, Fly in the Fibre, or at the door for $15 each for adults or $12 for seniors/students. Vaccine cards and photo identification will be checked at the door.
There will also be concession at the show, hosted by the Grade 12 students of KRSS.
To learn more about Footlighters Theatre Society, visit www.facebook.com/CrestonFootlighters.