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'The Mousetrap'.

Byline: Submitted by Westminster Christian School

The Westminster Christian School Fine Arts Department is proud to present a production of "The Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie.

The performances will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, March 1, and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Westminster Christian School, 2700 W. Highland Ave. in Elgin. Tickets, $5-$9, are available at westminsterchristian.tix.com.

As the world's longest running play, this 1950s murder comedy will have you on the edge of your seat. "The Mousetrap" tells the story of a newly married couple on the opening night of their guesthouse, Monkswell Manor.

As their six house guests arrive, they hear on the radio a shocking report of a murderer on the loose in their county. The guests turn to each other for comfort in this frightening time, but as suspicious sounds and happenings transpire, it becomes clear that the murderer is among them -- now snowed in with the remaining potential victims. It is up to these "trapped mice" to solve the mystery before another guest dies.

As Lois Shaw, director and producer, chose this year's high school play, she aimed to choose a production that would interest the student body and community in order to showcase the excellent students in Westminster's theater department.

"Our students are extremely talented, and we take the fine arts seriously at Westminster. I wanted to showcase their hard work in a production that would be intriguing, and a mystery-comedy seemed like the perfect choice," she said.

Westminster always strives to choose a storyline with a redeeming factor.

"'The Mousetrap' was not an easy storyline from which to draw a sound moral, but as we've worked to develop these versatile characters, pursue excellence for the glory of God and refine the gifts the Lord gave us, I am finding that the redemption in the rehearsal process and the growth in the cast and crew is perhaps more powerful than any redemption in the plot line," Shaw said, adding she hopes that the audience will see the students' faith, dedication and cast-camaraderie shine through their performance.

"The tricky part of rehearsing this production is the irony in 'murder comedy,'" Shaw said. "It has been a challenging undertaking to balance humor with fear and suspense, but our students have handled it so professionally."

There were several challenges of "The Mousetrap" at Westminster. Their initial roadblock was casting a production with only eight characters.

"We had one of the largest audition turnouts in Westminster history. Unfortunately, it was for the smallest cast size," Shaw said. "I was extremely encouraged by the numbers. I am excited about the future of the Westminster theater department. I was so proud as I watched student after student step out of their comfort zone and give a heartfelt and impressive audition."

While only eight were selected for the cast, many students are still a part of the production on the backstage crew.

Members of this select cast include suspicious guesthouse owner Giles Ralston, played by freshman Griffin Bayer.

"I really like the rehearsal process, because it's a time when you don't have to worry about other stuff that's going on," Griffin said. "It's a safe space, and you can just be yourself around the other people involved."

Junior Sophie Kovachevich, playing the role of Christopher Wren, is performing with Westminster for the first time.

Major Metcalf, a retired Army general, is played by senior Sarah Rohloff. When asked about her many years of experience doing Westminster productions, Sarah said, "I enjoy theater at Westminster because you get an opportunity to not only grow close to the cast, but to the directors and the backstage crew. You really become a family as you work together to serve the Lord with your gifts."
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Title Annotation:Neighbor
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2019
Words:628
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