June 22nd, 2024

WCHS murder mystery lets audiences play detective

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 16, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Students Jenna Knott, Connor Trechka and Johana Zieber run through a scene of Winston Churchill High School's latest production "Murder's in the Heir" on Tuesday at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Winston Churchill High School is staging a murder mystery production that invites the audience to help solve the crime.

The school’s fall play, “Murder’s in the Heir” starts tonight and runs through Saturday at The Sterndale Bennett Theatre.

Churchill drama teacher Emily Morrison says the play revolves around a billionaire who has decided not to leave anything to his family in his will.

“Spoiler alert, he gets murdered, but here’s the thing, Billy St. John didn’t write an ending to the play, so we need the audience to help us decide who did the murder because we don’t even know on stage,” said Morrison.

She said the audience votes at intermission and then the backstage people count those votes and therefore the murderer is different every night.

“The second act is unpredictable,” said Morrison.

She said she wanted to do a murder mystery play this time around and the fact that there is a play within the play makes it very fun.

Ruben Sana, who plays the director of the play within the play said it is a lot of fun to walk on stage and interrupt the play.

“It’s very fun to disturb it and make everyone wait for me and then they get mad at me eventually I just I get annoyed,” said Sana.

There are over 40 students involved in the production. This show has two different casts and for many student actors, this play marks their first time in a production like this.

“The play has 13 roles and I had about 60 kids show up to audition, so I decided to have two cast. So, I have 26 kids in the play. I think that this is the most kids I had in a play in a while,” said Morrison.

She explained that the casts alternate performances every day, giving the opportunity to all of them to take part of it.

Morrison said that after two years of restrictions, many students want to do everything and that resulted in having to accommodate for student athletic and music’s schedules.

“It’s been a lot of juggling everyone schedule, but if the kids want to be here and perform, we’ll make it work,” said Morrison.

Sana said that in his case he had to accommodate for a couple of extra curricular activities.

“Emily is great director, she has made it so easy for us to get to rehearsals. I’m a busy guy myself, I’m in football and in band but she made it work with all of our schedules,” said Sana.

He added that he will be the one who reads the verdict about who the murderer is each night and gets to interact with the audience.

“I think it causes great excitement for the audience,” said Sana.

The play, which is recommended for ages 10 years old and up, runs today until Saturday at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre at 7 p.m. today and tomorrow and at 2 p.m. on Frida and Saturday for the general public, with a number of student matinees throughout.

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