Playing bad actors takes talent and skill.
That’s according to the cast of “The Farndale Avenue Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery,” opening soon at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton. A comedy, “Murder Mystery” will have three performances at the Bremer Bank Theatre starting Thursday, Nov. 16.
“It’s a bawdy comedy,” director Melissa Frank said. “We’re not crude, but bawdy.”
“Murder Mystery” has 7 p.m. performances on Thursday, Nov. 16 and Friday, Nov. 17. It concludes with a 1 p.m. performance, Saturday, Nov. 18. Admission is $5 for adults, $1 for students and free for NDSCS students, faculty
and staff with an ID.
A cast of eight play 23 total roles in “Murder Mystery.” Not only are they the victims and suspects in “Murder at Checkmate Manor,” they’re also the townspeople whose mishaps occasionally interrupt the play within the play.
“Things go wrong, but they’re trying their best,” Frank added.
Not only that, but the cast of “Murder Mystery” is having a great time with all the onstage shenanigans. That can include anything from two characters played by Franzi Maurer having a conversation or more than a few actors playing roles of the opposite sex. One such character is a middle aged diva.
“There’s been a lot of rehearsals where we’re only able to get through two scenes at most because we’re having so much fun,” Mel Kompelien said.
Kompelien is one of two NDSCS alumni who couldn’t resist another chance to be directed by Frank. The other is Noah Dobmeier, whose “Manor” character works to solve the case while romancing an heiress (Cassidy Neidviecky) played by a beauty queen townswoman.
Neidviecky is glad her NDSCS acting debut is going so smoothly.
“Being in a show like this, that’s all over the place, is a good way to ease into things,” she continued.
Jocelyn Dupree and Bradley Banken are also first-years making their NDSCS’ debuts with “Murder Mystery.” The roles they play include a pair of aged relatives in “Manor.”
“It’s great having Bradley to play off of, since we graduated together (from Breckenridge High School),” Dupree said.
Emma Jensen, who acts as straight woman to the escalating craziness in “Manor,” is proud of “Murder Mystery” allowing all kinds of acts the chance to shine.
“It’s great, because (Sam Bartz and I) were freshmen last year and we made friends with the second years,” Jensen said. “Now we’re making friends with the first years as well.”
What’s also fun, Bartz continued, is getting to see what the freshman bring to the table.
“I’m impressed with how good of actors they are,” he added.
If the whodunit and comedy weren’t enough to hold the audience’s attention, “Murder Mystery” also features interactive aspects. For example, the first act concludes with the townspeople putting on a fashion show.
“The play is nuts,” Jensen said with a laugh.