On Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m., the Tower Players will perform “Arsenic and Old Lace”, a dark comedy that promises quirky characters, witty dialogue, and plenty of laughs. The play will run through Nov. 23 in Markel Auditorium with an additional matinée performance at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
“I think our audiences are really going to enjoy it,” said Lighting Designer and Production Manager Michael Beyer, who directed the play. “It’s an old American classic but the humor is still relevant today.”
The story, which is set in the 1940s, revolves around drama critic Mortimer Brewster, who falls in love with girl-next-door Elaine Harper. Over the course of the play, Mortimer discovers just how strange his family really is.
When he visits his aunt’s Victorian home in Brooklyn, New York to tell them about his upcoming wedding, Mortimer is shocked to discover a dead body in their window seat. His homicidal aunts aren’t the only crazy ones in the family — one of Mortimer’s brothers believes he is Theodore Roosevelt, and the other undergoes plastic surgery to conceal his identity.
Mortimer and Elaine will be played by James Young and Arianna Gaiser, and Madeline Campbell and Rachel Stanford will play the murderous aunts.
“The cast has really brought the play to life,” Beyer said. “They’re having a lot of fun putting it together.”
Despite the dark undertones, “Arsenic and Old Lace” is a comedy through and through.
“It’s light-hearted and silly and it still resonates with people,” Beyer said. “There’s religious humor in it, there’s social humor, and it’s about the kinds of things that we still laugh about today.”
“This is good theater,” said Professor James Brandon, Chairman of Theatre and Dance. “It’s perfect for an audience that wants to have a good time — it’s very funny.”
Brandon’s favorite line in the play is spoken by Mortimer: “Insanity runs in my family: it practically gallops,” he says.
Halloween may be over, but a little bit of crazy never goes out of season. Come down to the Sage Center on Nov. 20 to get yours.