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'The Mousetrap' coming to Hays

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

Agatha Christie's classic whodunit "The Mousetrap" promises to mystify audience members Saturday night at Fox Pavilion.

The Hays Rotary Club and Fort Hays State University Fringe Theatre Company's Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre will bring "The Mousetrap," the longest running play in British history, to the local stage.

With a cast of eight that includes six FHSU students and two community members, "The Mousetrap" is set in a remote guest house on a treacherous wintry night. Each character appears to hold tight to his or her own secret as the mystery unfolds.

Although it is the fifth year Fringe Theatre Company has performed a murder mystery, Saturday's performance will mark its first joint fundraising effort with the Hays Rotary Club.

"It just seemed like the logical fit," said Brittany Howell of Hays Rotary Club. "I came up with the idea of doing a mystery dinner theater and then talked to both the community theater group and the Fringe Theatre and it just seemed a natural fit."

Directed by Lydia Fuqua and Sami Pfeifer, both seniors, the play involved the special challenge of each character speaking with either a British or French accent.

"The accents, for the most part, weren't too bad," Fuqua said during a break from an evening rehearsal at Felten-Start Theatre on the FHSU campus. "The French accent has been the most difficult."

"They have turned a corner, and it's fantastic."

Most rehearsals have been at the Fox, which is a new venue for the Fringe company to perform. Even though the stage is shallow, with no side exits, Pfeifer and Fuqua agreed it will be an optimal setting for the production.

"It's just beautiful," Pfeifer said of the facility.

"It's ideal for a dinner theater," Fuqua added.

Cast members include Amy Smarsh, Colwich sophomore; Steven Johnson, Wichita freshman; Dusten Germaine, Stockton freshman; Kyrsten Bonine, Haven community member; Adam Conkey, Norton community member; Jill Herbert, Wichita freshman; Janelle Thimmesch, Andale senior; Tim Tarkelly, Chanute junior.

Tickets for the performance are $35 per person and are available at the FHSU Student Service Center and Malloy Hall box office, Hays Area Chamber of Commerce or from any Hays Rotary Club member. Reservations for tables of eight are available.

Social hour and cash bar begins at 6 p.m., with dinner and the performance to follow at 7 p.m.