Teachers Join Students Onstage in Arsenic and Old Lace


Jordyn Parsons, Sports Editor

Elderberry wine, Teddy Roosevelt and a dozen bodies in the cellar are just a few of the great characteristics of the play Arsenic and Old Lace, which ran from January 24 – 27 and featured teachers Jennifer Shumway and Sharon Hoge in leading roles.
“I loved being onstage and working with my students onstage,” Hoge said. “I’ve never done that before.”
The play takes place in the Brewster household. Martha and Abby Brewster, the two women who own the Brewster home, have a terrible secret: they have poisoned twelve people, and, with the help of their nephew Teddy, buried them in their cellar. They consider the killings to be an act of kindness to the poor lonely people who come to the home looking to stay. Jonathan Brewster, who has changed his face with the help of his associate Dr. Einstein, visits the home after many years of traveling all around the world to murder people.
It seems that the only normal Brewster is Mortimer, who tries throughout the play to cure his aunts and long-lost brother of their apparent bloodlust. His only flaw is his careless way of treating the other characters, especially his fiancee, Elaine.
“Mortimer is a jerk,” Nicholas Hammond (11), who played Mortimer Brewster, said. “He proposes to Elaine, and then, like 15 minutes later, spaces it. He’s all over the place.”
Finally, at the end of the play, both Teddy and his aunts are taken to the Happy Dale Institute, but not without one final murder to send them off. The play has something for everyone: dark humor, murder, action, science and just a pinch of romance.
Tied together with great costuming and a stellar cast, this play was a huge success.
“It’s really fun to be in a show with kids because they do a lot of stuff backstage,” Hoge said. “Their goofing off and playing around was fun for me to be a part of.”
Arsenic and Old Lace was student-directed by Porter Williams (11). Though his true love lies in being onstage with the actors, he loved “to tell people what to do.”
“I remember on our second to last night someone walked out of the front door on the set, and they didn’t shut it all the way, so it swung open. It was sitting there open for 15 minutes,” Williams said. “I was on the radio like, ‘Somebody! Close the door! Somebody tell an actor to close the door, please! It’s open, somebody close it!’ Mrs. Hoge was one of the actors and she told me it was fine, and I was like, ‘No, it’s not fine!’”
Another great part of the play was the set. The three-act play took place entirely in the Brewster home, which featured a cellar, dining room table, upstairs loft and two chairs.
“The behind-the-scenes, building the set and all that, was really a blast,” Hammond said.