Denfeld prepares for murder mystery debut

Stage+manager+Makayla+Reese+supervises+rehearsal.
Stage manager Makayla Reese supervises rehearsal.

Stage manager Makayla Reese supervises rehearsal.

Stage manager Makayla Reese supervises rehearsal.

Mya Halvorson, Staff Reporter

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This May, the Denfeld Theater Department will perform “The Mousetrap,” a murder mystery written by Agatha Christie. With just over a week left before opening night, director Matthew Pursi prepares his students for the debut of the dramatic thriller.

“Lines are still shaky, and we can definitely go bigger. The show needs to go bigger, because right now, it’s boring as hell…. But what’s amazing is what happens in the next week,” said Pursi. “This show will be completely different if you come see it a week from now.”

Sophomore Nelson Wennberg and junior Rouri Eckstine rehearsing a scene.

As the actors rehearse the first act, Pursi sits in the back of Denfeld’s auditorium, occasionally ringing a call bell. “It’s a big space, and volume is always an issue, so my hope is, every time I ring the bell and they hear it, they have to repeat the line they just did because it was too quiet, and I couldn’t hear it back here,” said Pursi.

Pursi called the bell a “lesson in projection,” and it appeared to work, even when the problem wasn’t an actor’s volume, but their accent, annunciation, or tone. Sophomore Nelson Wennberg, who plays Christopher Wren, had to repeat a set of lines multiple times before they were up to Pursi’s satisfaction. The bell rang repeatedly, followed by critiques of Wennberg’s accent, as the play is set in England, and line delivery, because his character is reciting a nursery rhyme.

In “The Mousetrap,” all of the characters have English accents, except Mr. Paravincini, who is played by senior Kong Xiong. Mr. Paravincini is a foreigner with an Italian accent, and Xiong says he based the accent off of cartoon character Yogi Bear.” Xiong describes his character as eccentric. “I always have to play eccentric characters. I was the dentist [in “Little Shop of Horrors”], and now I’m the mysterious foreigner.”

As for the set and behind-the-scenes work, sophomore Gabe Lee, who works on tech, says that most of what he’s worked on is ready for opening night. “Set-wise, we seem pretty close, there’s just painting and such to do, a few more props for characters to hold.” Lee’s main hope for the play is that it will look good. “I hope that it ends up well, there’s no mistakes during the show on opening night,” said Lee. “I’m just hoping that it does well and looks nice.”

As for Pursi’s hopes, “I am definitely hoping [that the theater program will grow], especially our audience base,” said Pursi. “You know, with the last two years, since I’ve taken over, I’ve been trying really hard to build our audience on Facebook and Twitter. Our numbers have continuously grown with every show we’ve done. I’m expecting the same thing here.”

“The Mousetrap” will be showing from May 4-6 at 7 p.m. in Denfeld’s auditorium. Tickets will be sold for $8 at the door.

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Denfeld prepares for murder mystery debut