Lakeridge High's 'Mousetrap will feature double casts
Lakeridge High School will debut its production of Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap" this week, with opening night scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 28.
"The Mousetrap," which is the longest-running play in London's West End (with more than 25,000 performances), is a mystery that follows a couple who open a boarding house, only to have a guest murdered on opening night.
The play only features eight characters, so drama teacher Andrew Ballnik had to get creative to get more students involved.
"Since there are only eight characters in the play, I wanted to double-cast it to give as many students opportunities as possible," says Ballnik. As a result, there will be six chances to see the show instead of the usual four.
Lakeridge senior Kallan Wehrmeister plays Mollie Ralston, who owns the boarding house with her husband Giles. She says that because of the double casting, she has enjoyed seeing how each group interprets the characters they play.
"It's a really small cast, and it's such an interesting story. This is my first major role, and it's been really fun to get more involved in the play," Wehrmeister says. "I've really enjoyed getting to know my cast mates. Everyone really wants to be here and to put on the best show possible. It's not forced at all."
Wehrmeister says she used to be a cheerleader but stopped after a concussion. She then looked to drama as another possible activity. "I just auditioned on a whim, and I've loved it ever since," she says.
Senior Maura Hughes, who also plays Mollie, says she has enjoyed exploring the different sides of her character.
"She goes through a lot of different emotions, which has been fun to work on and perform," says Hughes. "She's always trying to be strong, and then breaking down."
Mollie's counterpart, Giles, also has a unique personality. "I like that there are two sides to the character, and you really get to see both sides throughout the play," says senior Rohan Myers, who plays Giles in one of the casts.
Russell Breaux, who portrays Giles in the other cast, describes him as a paranoid and frantic husband. "I like that the play is all about reactions and interactions between people," says Breaux. "There's a lot of character in the dialogue."
Breaux says that the entire play is full of red herrings and has a surprising ending.
"It's fun for the audience and the cast — it's almost a game between them," he says. "You never really know who the murderer is, but you suspect everyone. It's an intriguing mystery to solve, plus it has a great ending."
"The Mousetrap" generally begins with an agreement that the audience will not divulge the ending to anyone. The culture of secrecy has successfully surrounded the story, despite it being performed thousands of times. If you want to know the ending, Ballnik says, you'll have to attend the production.
Despite the dark premise of the play, Hughes says it is also funny in parts, which she was not expecting. "There is a lot of comedy in the first act — which provides a great contrast to the second act, which is a lot spookier and ominous," she says.
All cast and crew are invested in the play, but it is particularly special for Myers. "The first production that I saw at Lakeridge High School was 'And Then There Were None,' which was also written by Agatha Christie. Seeing that play inspired me to do theater," says Myers. "So it's very fitting that the last play I would do at Lakeridge would be this one."
Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap" will premiere at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb 28. There will also be 7 p.m. shows Friday through Sunday, with 2 p.m. matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday as well. To purchase tickets, visit www.tinyurl.com/MousetrapLO.
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