Laughter, death, and a pinch of scary moments is what director Leah Rose said the audience can expect while watching Hillsboro High School’s production of “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
“There are some moments that get a little scary, but not too intense,” Rose said. “I think they’ll have a fun time.”
The show is about Mortimer Brewster, a drama critic for a newspaper and played by Colin Settle; his two aunts, played by Madi Sheppard and Kayla Gunn, who have started to murder lonely old men by poisoning them with elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and “just a pinch” of cyanide; his brother Teddy Brewster, played by Dylan Wiens, who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt, and Jonathan, played by Sonja Jost, who received plastic surgery from an alcoholic Dr. Einstein, played by Dakota Klein.
Rose chose the show due to having done it herself in high school.
“It was my favorite show I ever did,” Rose said. “I’ve been wanting to do it since I started directing here.”
She chose to do it this year due to the high number of talented performers she saw in the group.
“This year seemed like a good cast for it,” Rose said. “It’s a fun show, and I thought the kids would enjoy it.”
One unique aspect of the show is the decision to include names of people from the Hillsboro community among the victims of the Brewster sisters.
“When I did the show in high school, the names in the show as it was written were actually already names of people in our community,” Rose said. “It made it really fun, so I thought we could make it something that connects with the audience more.”
For senior Madi, the length of the play was the most challenging part.
“This is my biggest lead I’ve ever had in a play,” Madi said, “so getting the lines down and putting myself in a different character position than what I’ve been doing in the past (was the most challenging).”
Jenna Hinerman, who plays Elaine Harper, fiancé of Mortimer, said the most challenging part of this play was the time.
“It gets to be a lot,” Jenna said, “and then it gets kind of challenging with other stuff going along.”
One memorable moment to Madi while preparing for the show was the cast getting so into their parts that things started to fall apart.
“(Colin) was falling because he was being all scared and broke a chair,” Madi said.
“There’s funny stuff that comes up in a lot of situations, like someone will skip a line,” Jenna said.
The play consists of three acts, which is one of the longest plays this cast has performed, but Rose said that even with other spring activities, the cast has been good at budgeting their time.
“I’ve been amazed with them,” Rose said. “They’ve had a lot of obstacles this year, but they’ve figured out how to put in the time away from rehearsal to make it work.”
The play will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Hillsboro High School auditorium. Tickets are $5 and available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or at the door.