Warman’s Scared Scriptless Players are celebrating a major milestone with their biggest production so far. Continue reading “Scared Scriptless Players set to stage tenth comedy”
A three-day festival of one-act plays by community theatre groups from across the province will take the stage in Warman November 9-11.
The Scared Scriptless Players, Warman’s home-grown theatre troupe, is hosting the TheatreOne 2017 Festival at the Brian King Centre.
“Every year, Theatre Saskatchewan picks a different town to host the festival,” said April Watson of the Scared Scriptless Players. “This year it’s our turn. We’re having fun with it.” Continue reading “Warman gets set to host community theatre festival”
There is shooting. Bodies drop to the floor. But the play, Bloody Murder, doesn’t take itself too seriously. It spoofs the British murder mystery genre with comedic self-awareness.
The ‘usual suspects’ descend on the lavish country estate of the hoity Lady Somerset for a grand evening – the naïve young woman, the mysterious Chinese gentleman, the fading actor with a penchant for booze, the countess, the rich matriarch aunt and her faithful maid and good-for-nothing nephew.
As the guests mingle and get to know one another, one of them suddenly dies of poison. Let the fun begin! Their mutual suspicion about ‘whodunit’ frequently turns hilarious even as the sense of intrigue deepens.
The production was a directorial debut for April Watson with Warman’s Scared Scriptless Players. “Bloody Murder is a mix between Agatha Christie and Abbott & Costello,” she said. “It’s part murder mystery and part slapstick comedy.” The production had audiences laughing at the Brian King Centre where both evening dinner theatre and matinee performances ran from March 17 to 19.
Watson was thrilled with all the hard work the actors put in, as well as those who worked on costumes, lighting, and creating the set.
“So much work has gone into it over the past two and a half months. All the actors are just phenomenal. Everything came together beautifully! It makes it so worthwhile,” she said.
Watson said one of the most complex characters in the play was Lady Somerset, played by Liz Scott. “As our main actress in the play, Lady Somerset is a very complicated person. She seems to know something is going on and has all the clues and the background.” Scott was born and raised in the county of Somerset, England and was a great fit for the role.
Each secret of each suspect are revealed as the play progresses. The nephew, played by Sean Sperling, is in fact a fake, but delivers his roguish one-liners convincingly. “I’m an embarrassment to the family, I’m proud to say.” When Lady Somerset says he wishes her premature death, he replies, “At this point it can hardly be considered premature.”
The countess is also proven to have a false identity. Her ability to assume various roles in life has served her well. She’s the provocative siren, the lady in red who has mastered the art of seduction, played memorably by Meghan Lofgren.
Lady Somerset brings in satire here and there, at one point asking her guests to raise their right hand and make a promise. “I solemnly swear I will commit no more murders, at least for this weekend,” they repeat after her.
The actors gradually realize that the writer of the play is in the play. He’s a well-known author, a master at the art of the murder mystery, played by Roger Heard. Now he has chosen to mix things up, keep things fresh.
In the final minutes the play ‘breaks the fourth wall’ and there is some interaction with the audience. The actors look toward the audience, trying to see through the darkness, and one says, “So that’s why there’s no furniture on that wall!”
“Basically the actors are trying to break away from their characters and break away from the story, and a whole bunch of shenanigans happen,” Watson said. Major Quimby (Heard) calls it ‘character assassination.’
Americans come in for some timely bashing as well. When all the characters realize the story has broken with the familiar murder mystery formula and speculation runs rampant, Lady Somerset exclaims, “Oh god! You mean we’ve been written by an American?” suggesting that was a truly ‘low-brow’ scenario.
Bloody Murder’s clever witticisms are delivered with just the right degree of panache, with some convincing British accents. To appreciate the complex developments of the plot however, you really had to be there.