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Grand Island High School: Spotlighters present mystery comedy

by jmaloni
Fri, Nov 9th 2012 07:00 pm

Murder is something to laugh at during this year's fall drama at Grand Island High School.

For the third year in a row, the Spotlighters drama club will present a comedy, but one that includes murder mystery. The troupe will present "Done to Death" on Friday night at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m.

"We have a lot of really funny kids and we work well with comedies," said lead Dan Konopski, a three-year member of the acting club at GIHS. "We're also very good with doing serious one-acts in the spring, but our fall is definitely time for comedy."

Konopski plays Whitney Olive, who with his wife Jessica forms both a writing team and a drinking partnership. He plays opposite Mary Kneer and Laura Dolan, who will share the role on alternate nights. That's fine with Konopski, because he was "married" to Kneer last year in the fall comedy.

"This is the second year in a row that I've been his wife in a play," Kneer said. "I don't mind being Dan's wife. He's fun to work with, I guess."

Kneer shares the role with Konopski's real life girlfriend, Dolan.

"Which isn't actually as awkward as you'd think because we're all really good friends and we're all close," Kneer said.

Written by Fred Carmichael, the play involves five hack mystery writers brought to a mysterious location to collaborate on a new murder mystery TV show, until real murders happen. Or do they?

Kneer said the show is "really unique. It's not like anything else you would go to see, and it's surprising. You'll be shocked towards the end."

"I guess you could say it's somewhat suspenseful, but it's also really funny at the same time," Kneer said.

The script includes the technique of breaking the fourth wall, with characters talking directly to the audience.

"We do reference the audience a couple times, which is fun because it kind of makes the audience feel more important, and it kind of brings them into the story more," said Maggi Chauby, a junior, who plays Mildred Z. Maxwell, an elderly, spunky writer.

"In the end, it's almost like a parody of itself," Chauby said of the show.

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