Mystery fans are invited to solve a series of cold-blooded murders that took place on Oak Harbor High School’s stage.
Based on the 1985 movie, which in turn is based on the family favorite board game, Clue is so entertaining it leaves audience members hoping for more chaos and murders. And it doesn’t disappoint.
Six eccentric people receive an invitation to a mysterious dinner party in a fancy mansion, only to discover they’ve been lured by Mr. Boddy, a man who has been blackmailing them. After Mr. Boddy’s lifeless body is found, the guests try to find the culprit, but more people perish under mysterious and frightening circumstances.
The play is directed by Micki Gibson and Eric George, who respectively teach drama and volunteer for the theater department at the school, and features a cast of 19 actors and 13 crew members.
Spencer Grubbs, a senior at the high school, plays Wadsworth, the butler and the star of the comedy. He described the story as a funny murder mystery set at the height of public paranoia, the Red Scare.
Despite missing some rehearsals in January, Grubbs was able to bring Wadsworth’s manic and comedic personality to life, dramatically moving, jumping and falling around the stage without losing his British accent.
During rehearsals, many cast members agreed, laughing was unavoidable.
“No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t keep from bursting out in laughter,” Grubbs wrote in an email. “Everyone is trying to hide it by covering their mouths or looking away, but the laughter is palpable and ultimately brings a smile to everyone’s face.”
On the other hand, some actors couldn’t laugh or move at all. Linndsy Scheer for example, who played Mr. Boddy, had to play dead for the great majority of the almost two-hour-long show.
Some of the dead characters, George said, are actually sleeping actors. But even while unconscious, they did not move.
“When you fall, fall in a comfortable position because once you’re there you can’t move,” George recalled telling his cast.
To senior Kincaid Cochran, one of the main challenges she faced was playing Mr. Plum, a former World Health Organization member who has made some questionable life decisions.
“I kept having to remind myself to stand like a man,” she wrote in an email.
Playing a man was a new but fun experience, she wrote, as she got to flirt with women. Sometimes, she had to ask the male actors to demonstrate how to act like a man, and then she would copy them.
According to Cochran, Gibson and George, the biggest challenge was recreating a large mansion with its many rooms on a high school stage. After coming up with about eight different set designs, the crew came up with a very simplified set with moving parts to recreate secret passages and doors.
Though hilarious, the play wasn’t the drama club’s first choice. It was chosen after Principal Nathan Salisbury prohibited the club from presenting “The Laramie Project,” a play that tells the real story of Matthew Shephard, a University of Wyoming student who was killed in 1998 for being gay.
George found the decision to be unfair and believes students will never forget that they weren’t allowed to tell a story that is so meaningful.
“The majority of the student population have dealt with some sort of bullying,” George said.
Clue will be on stage Feb. 15-17 and Feb. 22-24 at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10.