Young actors 'break the fourth wall' in interactive production

Need a laugh? This weekend's 'Done to Death' is 'a comedy with a murderous twist'


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  • Standing (from left): Zuria Freeman, Jonathan Walters, Chris Flynn, Robert Rodriguez, Kania Walker, Reinaldo Martinez. Seated: Nora El Gheur, Kyle Braun. (Photo provided)



By Ginny Privitar

— The young actors at the Chester Academy have been getting deep into their roles.

"What drives the story forward is an actual murder that happens and they all have to find out who did it," said Robert Rodriguez, who plays Brad Benedict in this weekend's production of "Done to Death."

Erin Holton, who plays Whitney Olive, said, "What I really like about the play is it's funny and we interact with the audience." She noted it's fun and a great experience and different from what they've done before.

"Done to Death," by Fred Carmichael, is a mystery-comedy that will have you laughing and guessing. Five mystery writers, slightly past their prime, are brought together by a TV network to collaborate and write a murder mystery series for TV.

Each of the five authors has his or her own style. There's the husband and wife team of Jessica and Whitney Olive, a witty and sophisticated duo who write pleasant, genteel murders about rich, sophisticated people. Mildred Maxwell is an older woman who writes characters who are well-organized and plots that are "spectacularly logical," and is a specialist in the surprise ending.

Brad Benedict is younger than the others, shy, with a quiet sense of humor who writes about James Bond-type spies with secret gadgets. Rodney Duckton is the oldest writer present, but full of energy and enthusiasm, who has a fondness for horror stories and was the creator of the Jack Club detective series. And finally there's Jason Summers, who, together with the TV producers, had the idea of bringing these writers together to blend their talents in creating a TV series.

The Chester Academy actors break the "fourth wall" and involve the audience as the authors imagine scenes that come to life. There's a surprise in store when a real murder is discovered.

It's a delightful farce about the mystery genre and a parody of typical murder plots, heroes and villains. Don't miss it.

Done to Death is presented in special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., and is presented under the direction of Lenna Andrews, of Hudson Valley Music Academy in Chester. Mary Ann Ciuffetelli and Lisa Terrace are assisting Ms. Andrews with the production.

If you go

What: "Done to Death," a comedy by Fred Carmichael
Where: Chester Academy Auditorium, 64 Hambletonian Ave., Chester
When: Friday, Dec. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. (Snow date Sunday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m.)
How much: $10 adults, $8 students and senior citizens, at the door
Information: Chester Academy office at 469-2231


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