The audience will be able to get in on the act in an upcoming production that teachers hope will reinvigorate drama at Eagle River Secondary.
ERS students and staff have been working together for months on a play called Café Murder. Their hard work will pay off when the play is staged on Wednesday, March 13 and Thursday, March 14.
The play is a short murder mystery set in a café. The characters are birthday party guests, one of whom is murdered. As the drama unfolds, the audience will get an opportunity to try to guess who is responsible for the crime. Dessert will be served in dinner-theatre style during the 45-minute production.
Ryan Meise, a teacher at ERS who is helping students put on Café Murder, said in the four years he has been at the school there hasn’t been a theatre program.
“It’s something different for the kids to do that they have never experienced before so some of them are having a little bit of trouble figuring out what to do,” Meise said. “We’re hoping to build a bit of a theatre program here so it’s a good start.”
Meise said the audience participation aspect of the play might actually make it easier for the students who are new to theatre. He said interacting with the audience helps them relax without the separation found in a traditional play.
“This way it feels that they’re all there together and they can connect with the audience a little better that way.”
Nine students are in the cast for Café Murder and another three or four will be serving dessert.
Starting work on the play in November, Meise wanted to do it last year but the scheduling didn’t work out.
The production heralds the return of theatre to ERS. There is a drama course running this semester, taught by Pam Gretzinger who is also helping with Café Murder. Meise said the students volunteering their time for Café Murder after school started rehearsing in November so the play could be in front of an audience before spring break. The cast recently had a chance to practise interacting with an audience as they rehearsed in front of a class at ERS.
The play runs at 6 p.m. both nights. Tickets are available to purchase for $10 at the ERS office.