NILES — Students at Brandywine High School are gearing up to crack a caper like no other this week.
The Schools Theater Troupe will perform “Murder, Actually,” by Edith Weiss at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10 and Friday, March 11 at the Brandywine High School Boardroom, 1700 Bell Rd.
Tickets are $3 for students and seniors and $5 for adults.
Described as a combination of “Wuthering Heights”, “Downton Abbey” and “Love, Actually”, “Murder, Actually” tells the story of Catherine and Algernon’s 1908 wedding weekend and the antics that come with it. The story features psychic nannies, acrobatic bodyguard nurses, nosy aunts and optimistic servants as they prepare for a weekend of tea, weddings and maybe a little murder, actually.
“It’s completely ridiculous,” said Brandywine theater manager Kevin Smith. “It’s a farce, so it’s taking the concept of a murder mystery with a gothic setting and playing with it. Nothing happens as it should.”
According to Smith, the project was one that he and his students agreed to make a great show of.
“Typically, I put together two or three scripts and let the students read them and let them vote on them,” he said. “Coincidentally, their choice is usually the one I’d like to do too.”
While the pandemic has hampered theater production in the past, the theater class was able to bolster its props, costumes, and sets with support and donations from community members.
Smith said all of their costumes for the show were rented from Cassidy’s Costume Shop in South Bend.
“Two years ago we did Alice in Wonderland before COVID shut down schools and we had basic set, some costumes and some props,” Smith said. “Over the past two years, we have been able to increase the complexity of what we do. Because of what we were able to win, we have a bigger set. We’re able to put more into it because of the support from the community and having them come and see what we’re doing, we can do more the following year.
Smith said the piece is something friends, family and community members will enjoy.
“They should expect to see all the effort and have a great time laughing at a bunch of ridiculous characters,” he said. “It’s a short piece, about 45 to 50 minutes, so you don’t have to devote an entire evening to it. … It’s a great way to support the arts in schools. Everything we do for that, we flip it around and put it on other shows.