Macedonia -- For the first time ever the Nordonia High School fall murder mystery show will feature an almost entirely different cast for each of its two performances.
The Wedding from Hell will feature a cast of 10 students, eight roles of which will be represented by different students in the play's two performances. The reason for this switch up, Drama Director Chris Simmons said is more interest in drama among students.
"We normally only have around 15 students audition for the fall play and this year we had nearly 30 students audition," Simmons said.
He believes the increased interest is due in part to having a large group of drama students come up from the middle school to high school this year. He said he also has "a good group of upperclassmen who are good at talking things up."
Two roles will not switch, one being a soloist who provides entertainment and the second being a character who dies during the show.
Simmons said the double casting required a lot of planning and work.
"Each cast has half the rehearsals they normally would," he said. "I also need to find double the costumes.
"It is more work, but it is so rewarding and funny to see how the different casts each take on a different persona and interpret the show in their own ways."
Last year Simmons looked to add an interactive element to the traditional fall murder mystery and is continuing the tradition this year by having the students stay in character as they are asked questions by audience members trying to figure out "whoddunit."
This year's show was written by Kent playwright Eileen Moushey, who has written several shows which have appeared at Weathervane in Akron. Simmons said there are hundreds of options for plays but he loves putting Moushey's shows into production because "they are written well, funny and she gives ideas to make them interactive."
He added it is not unusual to use a local playwright's work in lieu of using a standard show such as Death of a Salesman.
The Wedding from Hell is a story of everything that could possibly go wrong at a wedding, including a disapproving mother dressed in black, an ex-boyfriend as the wedding photographer, an inebriated judge and a murder.
Senior Madison Krempec portrays the judge who performs the ceremony. She said the role is fun for her because she gets to "overact and act like a fool."
She said she enjoys the murder mystery format altogether.
"You just get to have fun with hit and feed off each other," Krempec said. "Every character has something different to offer the show."
Krempec has been a drama student since seventh grade and this is her third high school performance.
Senior Amanda Pace has also been a drama student all four years of her high school career.
Pace plays the disapproving mother of the bridegroom and said her character is evil, conceited and shallow. She said the interactive quality to the murder mystery is her favorite part of the show.
"This show gives you the opportunity to improv," Pace explained of the need to stay in character while audience members question the cast.
"You have to become one with the character," she said.
Pace said the split cast also makes it interesting for audience members.
"You can see two different shows, and while the lines are the same, the general atmosphere could be completely different," she said.
There will be two performances this year, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. in the high school cafeteria. Both shows will be catered by Casa D'Angelo's. Doors will open at one hour before the performance to allow time to inspect the raffle prizes and buy a chance to win a basket.
Tickets cost $15 for students and seniors and $20 for adults. Tickets can be reserved by sending an email to email@example.com. Space is limited to just 100 people per performance and no tickets will be sold at the door.
Briana Barker: 330-541-9432