Lake Oswego Junior High School students will return to the stage this week to tackle a classic whodunit mystery.
In the final performance before the school year ends, students who are part of the middle school's drama department will perform "Mystery at Shady Acres." The light-hearted tale follows the mystery of a stolen million-dollar necklace and the chaos that follows in a worn-down hotel nestled in the English countryside.
The show opens April 28 and runs through the weekend.
The play will also have interactive elements where the audience can join in on the mystery and help the cast in identifying the culprit. Select community members in the audience will be interviewed by Aditi Gunasekar, who plays the chief of police.
"I enjoy the bustle of the theater and with this play there are a lot of interesting aspects, like the costumes and sets. There's just a whole bunch of interesting elements with the audience and we have some really funny moments on stage," said Aditi.
Audience members will then get the chance to fill out an informant form recounting details of the play during the intermission. The individual with the most precise tip sheet will win a prize. The play was chosen by the drama club's play selection committee because the students liked the communal elements, as well as the old-fashioned setting and variety of diverse characters.
For some of the students this will be their first time back on the auditorium stage since before the pandemic. The department performed the musical 'James and the Giant Peach' earliar this term. And in 2021, the drama department performed virtually with "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life on Earth," which followed four extraterrestrial talk show hosts as they searched for life on earth. But the students said they enjoyed performing together once again on the stage.
"Most of our plays and musicals were canceled because there was COVID," said eighth grader Millie Wollmuth, who plays Emma Reid. "So, it is good to be on stage (with my) friends."
Anderson Litchfield, who plays Edward Fairfax, said being part of the play has allowed him the chance to meet with other students he otherwise would not have. Lada Chamine, a seventh grader who plays Theodore Dorrit mirrored this response, saying she loves acting alongside her friends and it is a great community to be a part of.
"Being back on stage will be a bit nerve-wracking," Aditi said. "There's always that feeling that you might mess up, but it's also very exhilarating at the same time because you're showing off what you've practiced, and we can show off all of our hard work."
IF YOU GO:
When: April 28, 29 and 30 at 7pm with a 2p.m matinee on the 30.
Where: Lake Oswego Junior High auditorium.
Tickets: $10 at the door or online at http://our.show/shadyacres
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