'Whodunit?' - In Gehlen spring play, everyone is a suspect
Murder and intrigue.
That is the basis for the Gehlen Catholic fine arts department's spring play.
The high school is to perform Todd Wallinger's "The Butler Did It!"
Director Mark Morehead, the group speech monitor at Gehlen, said the show is a "whodunit" comedy.
The setting is 1930s Britain in the Covington household's manor.
Lady Miranda (Michaela Bretey) and Colonel Covington (Ben Fuentes) are to receive a visit from their friend, mystery writer Edwina Corry (Carli Bollin).
The Covington's butler, Jenkins (David Puhl), and maid, Sarah Jane (Morgan Whitehead), are preparing the household for Corry's visit.
Additional guests are visiting as well: Lady Miranda's mother (Shainn Hansen); the Covington's daughter, Kat, (Anna Hunt) and priest (Nathan Klein); and eavesdropping neighbor Trevor (Atze Atsma).
Trevor is found stabbed to death in the kitchen, which sets the play into motion.
Upon Corry's arrival, she launches an investigation into his murder.
Jenkins emerges as the prime suspect after a bloody knife is found in his pocket.
The show will keep the audience guessing, said Morehead.
"It seems that fingers point to everybody at some point," he said. "But mostly it comes down to 'The butler Jenkins did it.'"
Morehead said he selected the play particularly because he appreciated the slapstick comedy in the script.
"I started reviewing scripts last fall," he said. "I came across this one and I read through it once and I laughed hysterically through the reading. ... It has really great one-liners."
The cast of nine has been rehearsing since February, said Morehead.
"We put the show on with approximately 22 rehearsals," he said. "It's been a lot of late nights at times."
Ben Fuentes, a junior, plays Colonel Covington.
He said the play struck his interest at the time he auditioned.
"We've never done a murder mystery before," Fuentes said.
He said playing the cartoonish Covington has been enjoyable.
"Trying to keep it believable has been fun," Fuentes said. "I haven't gone over the edge yet."
Gehlen senior Anna Hunt said her 33-year-old character, Kat Covington, is a bit of a tomboy who enjoys the outdoors and adventure of flying an airplane.
"She's not ready to settle down or get married yet," she said.
Hunt, 18, said playing an older character can be difficult.
"But she still has that young spirit," she said. "She still has that dangerous kind of side, which I still have yet too because I'm still learning new experiences, which is kind of similar to Kat."
The finger-pointing in "The Butler Did It!" will debut 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday at the Steve Shea Memorial Gym at Gehlen Catholic School, 709 Plymouth St. N.E., Le Mars.
Tickets are available in advance at the school and at the door of both shows.