Thursday, January 10, 2008

Stockbridge Valley Central centers on "Murder Me Always"

By: LEAH McDONALD, Dispatch Staff Writer
The Oneida Daily Dispatch

STOCKBRIDGE Ny - "What's going on in here?" won't just be on the characters' lips as audience members have a chance to take part in the murder mystery action at Stockbridge Valley's dinner theater this weekend.

"It's definitely different than anything I've ever done before," said senior Irene Wasnik, 18, who plays undercover cop Trixie in Lee Mueller's "Murder Me Always." "It's quite an experience."

Director Kelly Meola said she chose this piece to give community members some exposure to "different types of theater they might not get in rural settings," and hopes the first-time event will become an annual one.

"I think they're going to love it," she said. "They'll be really entertained and surprised at how flawlessly the process goes."

The play is actually a play-within-a-play, in which the director is murdered while the company is giving a particularly bad performance of "Murder Me Always." Detective Joe Mamet, played by junior Matthew Misiaszek, 15, sets out to discover who the real murderer is, pulling the whole audience into the production.

"I like my part," said Misiaszek, who will be on stage for the first time in his theater career. "It's kind of like a 1960s detective with sort of corny lines."

Every time he comes on stage, for instance, he always asks "What's going on in here?" - usually because someone is passed out on the couch.

"It's different learning to interact with the audience," Wasnik said. "They get more involved with the play - there's audience interaction."

She explained how the cast members need to do a lot of character work because audience members will be invited to ask questions, and she and other cast members will have to answer in character. "I hope they ask questions we can answer."

Meola said the kids have been really excited about the play so far, however, especially with the "idea of doing something different."

"It's really fun," Misiaszek said.

The play will be Friday and Saturday, Jan. 11 and 12 at 6 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Tickets are $10 pre-sale and $12 at the door. The cost includes admission, a spaghetti dinner, dessert and beverages.

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