Christiansburg High School’s drama students presented Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” this past weekend, Thursday, March 17, at 7:00 p.m.; Friday, March 18, at 7:00 p.m.; and Saturday, March 19, at 2:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m.
Running continuously for over 60 years, “The Mousetrap” has broken records in London’s West End and established Agatha Christie as a playwright in the public eye. Since its debut in 1952, it has become the longest running play in the history of London’s West End with the 25,000th performance taking place on Nov. 18, 2012.
The story was adapted from a radio play, “Three Blind Mice,” written for the royal family in 1947. The stage play had to be renamed on the insistence of another producer, Emile Littler, who had used the name on stage before the Second World War, and it was Agatha Christie’s son-in-law, Anthony Hicks, who suggested the new title. In fact, it refers to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in which Hamlet cryptically calls the play depicting the murder of the king, ‘The Mousetrap.’
The play is set in what was then the present in the great hall of Monkswell Manor, a country house in which the owner/managers, Mollie and Giles Ralston, rent rooms out. The scene is set when a group of people cut off by the snow gather in Monkswell Manor and discover to their horror that there is a murderer in their midst. Who can it be? One by one the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts until at the last, nerve-shredding moment the identity and the motive are finally revealed.
Prior to the Saturday matinee, CHS culinary arts students catered a meal for those who attended the play. Preparing the meal and serving the food were Ellen Metzler, Chase Williams, Marshall Farmer, Maakyah Sherman, Coral Mayweathers, Ella Mathis, Hayse Good, and Madison Burroughs.
In the cast for various performances were Nina Smith and Annie Zaldivar as Mollie Ralston, Jackson Hatcher and Nathan Filipiak as Giles Ralston, Julian Howard and Addison Campbell ast Christopher Wren, Joci Shelton and Kaylie Richmond as Mrs. Boyle, Natalie Ferraro and Andrew Van Dyke as Major Metcalf, Juliana Rosso and Rose Griffith as Miss Casewell, El Rowland and Adalyn Williams as Paravacini, and Gregory Douglas and Lexi Boyd as Sgt. Trotter.
The play’s production crew included faculty member Makala Vest Witten, the director, with assistant directors Kayla Buonpane, a CHS freshman, and Blue Demon senior Niko Rensberger. CHS freshman Piper Freeman served as the play’s stage manager. First-time crew member and Christiansburg freshman Trinity Byers served as the assistant stage manager.
Handling the light and sound for the play were junior Erin Herald and Sam Campbell. Trinity Byers doubled up by working with the play’s props, along with junior Matthew Hill, who had previous acting roles in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and as the young Georgie Bailey in a radio version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
The play’s set was designed by junior Michael Scarberry and Rose Griffith, who also appeared in the cast as Miss Casewell. Constructing the set pieces were alumni volunteer Beks Knost, Piper Freeman, Jackson Hatcher, who played Giles Ralston, Michael Scarberry, and Nina Smith and Annie Zaldivar, both of whom played Mollie Ralston in the differing productions.
The play’s photographer was Anna Payne.
CHS cosmetology students ensured the actors’ hairstyles were appropriate for the period of the play, in the late 1940s, post-World War II. The hair stylists were Cadence Willis, Jamyson Kemp, Antwaniqua Banks, Silas Moore, Maria Pfeil, Richael Bruce, Alexis Cos, Lillian Shepherd, and Marina Ulbrich.