Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Hillsboro Artists' Regional Theatre presents a theater classic, 'Arsenic and Old Lace.'

COURTESY PHOTO: JANAE EASLON - Hillsboro Artists' Regional Theatre's 'Arsenic and Old Lace' opens on March 15 and features a cast from all around the Portland metro area. With the legacy of "Arsenic and Old Lace," Hillsboro Artists' Regional Theatre's newest production to hit the stage, the cast and crew want audiences to hone in on the late 1930s, lace doilies and all.

The show follows Mortimer Brewster, a New York drama critic who recently became engaged and heads home to his two spinster aunts to share the good news. Brewster knows his family is out of the ordinary, but he learns it is more serious than he thought after discovering his aunts poison male houseguests.

While trying to retain some normalcy, the events to follow are nothing short of the darker side of comedy.

The play-turned-Hollywood film starred Cary Grant, one of the most prolific leading men of his time, and was directed by Frank Capra, seen as an inspirational director to this day with his work on "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Ever since then, the play, written by American writer Joseph Kesselring, is a theater favorite.

For director Sarah Ominski, "Arsenic and Old Lace" is about family, no matter how strange the members might be, she said at a recent play rehearsal.

Ominski travels from Vancouver, Wash., to direct rehearsals for the show, but the cast and crew, filled with many returnees to HART, make it worthwhile, she said.

"Every character is beautiful," she said. "The family is crazy, but they accept people. The aunts are kind, charitable people who do a kind service."

Ominski laughs to herself after saying that last part, because while the aunts poison people, the way the play presents it is from a place of love, through use of irony and comedic delivery, she said.

"People are going to have warm fuzzy feelings about murder," Ominski said. "I'm kidding. They should expect to be entertained and to see professional theater."

"Arsenic and Old Lace" opens Friday, March 15. The play runs through March 31, on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at 185 S.E. Washington St. in Hillsboro.

Tickets can be purchased at or through the box office at 503-693-7815.

By Janae Easlon
Features Editor
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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