Written by Abi Ghiridharan
Photos by Izabella Stevenson
Last weekend, the Center Grove Theatre Department put on the play, The Mousetrap, which was student-directed by Taylor Ward and Adrianna Goss. The play was a murder mystery written by Agatha Christie and kept the audience in suspense throughout the entire show.
The story followed guests trapped by a snowstorm at a guesthouse who were trying to identify a murderer among them. As the play progressed, the audience suspected almost every character at some point until the murderer is revealed at the very end of the play.
“The character I played was Molly Ralston who is one of the owners of the guesthouse and the wife of Giles Ralston,” said Olivia Buck. “She acts as a dramatic foil to the other characters in the show. All the guests are very eccentric and they have certain things about them that are very different which make them very interesting. Molly’s function in the show is to provide a juxtaposition as someone who is very ordinary.”
Students went through a selective audition process to try out, since only eight scripted parts were available.
“I had friends convince me to try out,” said Alex Dixon. “My character was Giles Ralston who was the co-owner of the guest house that several other characters were staying in. He was very arrogant and stern. Every actor in the show was incredibly talented and Adrianna Goss and Taylor Ward were geniuses when it came to producing this play.”
Students practiced meticulously in order to put on the show. The actors and directors spent hours in rehearsals in order to shape and hone the play for audience members to enjoy.
“Rehearsals were scheduled based upon the scenes,” said Olivia Buck. “The directors broke down the show into little scenes so they could work with two or three characters at a time and really dig into the details. So we were called based upon which of those mini scenes we were in. I was there for every single rehearsal and that was a lot. During the first few weeks of the rehearsals we would meet three times a week for a few hours each time to read and memorize lines and learn about the plot. Then we would go home and review our notes. Toward the end of the process, we would meet every single day after school from anywhere from two hours to seven hours.”
The actors and directors were passionate about being in the play and felt they had benefitted from their roles.
“I played Mr. Paravicini who was kind of a comic relief, suspicious character,” said Jackson Simmons. “I was funny, but I was also scary. I did an evil laugh a lot in the show. I really enjoyed being in the show. The chance to make people laugh is something that I hold very dear in my life.”
The plot of the story allowed each of the actors to have a unique role in the play. Each character, at some point, was seen as a suspect by the audience.
“The play was a murder mystery where all of these guests come to the Monkswell Manor and then a murder happens and they try to find out who the murderer is with a detective helping them,” said Mikayla Lay. “I played Mrs. Boyle who was a very angry old lady who likes to complain about everything. I found lots of inspiration from one character on Downton Abbey. I had to act and sound old and walk with my hand on my back like I had arthritis.”
As the weekend came around, students got together to perform the play for an intrigued audience.
“The show went extremely well because we really brought it together in the last week of practices,” said Cameron Brooks. “They were long seven hour practices and it really came together. It was really fun and it went pretty great.”
Student actors and student directors worked together as a team to create a murder mystery show for Center Grove High School. The hours of rehearsal and dedication to the show brought the Agatha Christie play to life for audience members to see.