The Opelika High School Theatre Society kicked off the new semester with its rendering of the longest running play in London theater history Jan. 8.
The award-winning troupe brought Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap to life on the stage of the Opelika Center for Performing Arts last night and will perform one show per day until Jan. 13.
Theater teacher Revel Gholston, who was recently named Alabama’s Drama Teacher of the Year, said he has wanted to tackle “The Mousetrap” for a long time.
“It’s very different than plays we’ve done in the past,” said Gholston, noting the more simplistic sets and lighting techniques as compared to flashier past OHTS productions. “These actors are quite inexperienced, actually, at putting it all on their acting ability and their characters and their storytelling.”
The play tells the story of Mollie (Auburn Terry) and Giles Ralston (John David Strickland), new owners of a hotel, the Monkswell Manor. A number of peculiar guests with secrets and baggage arrive during a snow storm.
Detective Sergeant Trotter (John Sasser) arrives and tells the guests and proprietors he is there to investigate a murder that might have ties to the hotel’s guests.
“I really like the murder mystery type thing. It’s very much a ‘Whodunit,’” Gholston said.
Gholston said it is unusual for the group to have a performance this time of year, but because of the competition in the fall and the addition of a fourth show, the schedule had to be rearranged.
“The kids even took it upon themselves to rehearse a number of times over the break,” Gholston said. “We didn’t get started on it right away, but these actors have been around a while. We technically began preparations in August.”
The performances tonight and tomorrow will begin at 7 p.m., Sunday’s show will be a matinee performance at 3 p.m., and the two remaining shows next week will both be at 7 p.m.
John Sasser said he has enjoyed playing a dramatic character like Detective Sergeant Trotter. “I have a lot of lines in this one,” Trotter said. “I have a good bit of yelled lines, and that’s been my favorite part of The Mousetrap; getting to be angry on stage.”
“It’s awesome to be doing a murder-mystery,” added Auburn Terry. “The tempo really picks up in the second act. It gets really confusing and exciting.”
The Opelika Center for the Performing Arts is located at 1700 LaFayette Parkway. Admission is $5 for students and $7 for adults at the door. For more information, call 745-9715.