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Students serve up murder mystery drama, plus dessert

Shelly Painter, Jeffrey Coe, and Kathryn Macomson rehearse their roles as “Myrna,” “Darrell Burdett” and “Mimi Monroe” for the Lincolnton High School Drama Club’s performance of the play “An Inconvenient Corpse,” being presented at their “Murder Mystery Dessert Theater” on Saturday at the Citizen’s Center.
Ray Gora / Lincoln Times-News

AMANDA SEBASTIANO
Staff Writer

While other area groups rehearse for holiday-themed shows to end the year, the Lincolnton High drama club has a different type of production in mind for this weekend ­— a murder mystery with a touch of comedy.
“An Inconvenient Corpse,” by Pat Cook, centers around a Southern women’s club in the town of Fairfax — Ladies of the Deep South — who are preparing for the annual Founders Day Parade, when everything suddenly becomes chaotic.
Senior Shelly Painter portrays Myrna, the thinks-she’s-better-than-everyone elderly woman who wants to take charge of the group — a memorable character who will make herself known throughout the performance.
The show that keeps the audience guessing until the end, will be split into two sections with an intermission during which dessert will be served — the portion of the show that gave the drama club it’s name for the event, the LHS Dessert Theatre.
With the price of admission, patrons are invited to choose either cheesecake or chocolate cake to munch on during the brief break, and coffee, tea or water will be served by the drama club members before the show starts, as well.
Attendees will have the chance to ask drama club members questions about Act I, to help guess who killed the guest of honor, and why. Does the ladies’ club have a hidden agenda? The town mayor, sheriff, a newspaper editor and the town doctor will be involved in the guessing game of who killed whom and how they did it.
“These types of events give students the opportunity to perform in a venue and gain invaluable experience,” play Director Shane Stephens told the Times-News on Wednesday. “It’s lighthearted; I think people will enjoy it. Any performance experience builds character and helps with memorization skills, giving them an opportunity to develop characterization.”
Mayor Highwater, played by Stacy Stroud who describes his character as a Southern politician whose arch-nemesis is newspaper editor Alvina Carnes, will only be in the play for a shorter time than the rest of the cast, as the audience and cast members interact to determine Highwater’s killer. Carnes, played by Ashley Simmons, is characterized as a “loudmouth journalist” who has an ongoing battle with the mayor and enjoys “flinging muck” when it comes to the town official, Simmons said.
Carnes was originally “Alvin” but Stephens felt that Simmons would be a good fit for the character, so “Alvina” was born as a result.
Purchasing a $1 ballot will give those wishing to participate a chance to write down who they think the perpetrator is for a chance to win a $35 cash prize, while helping support future productions and LHS drama club events.
If multiple audience members choose the correct murderer, their names will be placed into a hat, where a winner will be drawn at random for the prize. Stephens estimates about 160 tickets were sold for last year’s event, and hopes to match or increase sales this time around.
The mystery beings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, at the Citizens Center. Tickets are available at LHS for $10, and a limited quantity will be on-hand at the door.
“This show really is funny,” Painter said. “It will be just as good, if not better than last year’s.”
Call (704) 736-1017, ext. 32507 for more information.

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