Department closes year with melodrama

Ben McGrath/The News

Ben McGrath/The News

The Murray State Theatre Department left suspense in the air Thursday night with their production of “Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie in the Robert E. Johnson Theater.

“Mousetrap” is a theatrical production written by one of the most well-known mystery playwrights, leaving it with all the makings of an intriguing murder mystery. It follows the movements of a group of people snowed in at a boarding house, one of whom is a murderer.

Lissa Graham-Schneider, associate professor in the Theater Department, is directing the show. She describes “Mousetrap” as a classic, archetypal mystery with much visual beauty in spite of its dark plot.

“It’s a classic production,” she said. “While it is mystery and drama, we’ve also added a lot of light humor and you really can’t tell who the murderer is.”

Since the play is such a long-running classic that is known for its unforeseen plot twists and suspense, Graham-Schneider said “Mousetrap” has its own rituals and secrets that go along with it.

“There is a tradition that goes along with ‘Mousetrap’ where they ask you not tell anyone who the murderer is once you leave the show,” she said.

She said her cast asks that viewers do the same for their production.

It is one of the longest running productions on the West End, the most popular area in London for theatre, with shows being performed for nearly 60 years. It also spurred many of the mystery stories in pop culture today, such as the popular game and movie “Clue.”

“There isn’t a Colonel Mustard or Miss Scarlett,” she said. “I think the audience will recognize a few of the same themes from other murder mysteries.”

While Graham-Schneider said she has been working on the program for over a year, the cast has met five times a week to rehearse for three hours for the last five weeks in preparation for the show, though everyone was assigned their roles in the beginning of the semester.

“I think people will be quite pleased with what they see of the students performing in this play,” she said. “They have all been wonderful to work with.”

Cindy Deiminger, junior from Morgantown, Ky., is an actress performing in “Mousetrap.”

Deiminger said she is taking on a challenge in the melodrama with the role she has taken on.

“I play Ms. Boyle – a rotten old woman,” she said. “It’s a challenge because it’s just so different from my own personality.”

Deiminger is one of eight Murray State students performing in “Mousetrap,” alongside three vocal performers.

Graham-Schneider said this is the department’s last main stage program of the semester.

The production will continue the rest of the weekend, with shows at 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday and a matinee at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday in the Robert E. Johnson Theater.

Ticket prices vary depending upon seating and range from $10 to $15. Murray State students receive free admission.

For ticket information, contact the Murray State Theatre Department at 270-809-4421.