"Arsenic and Old Lace" performances will be Friday and Saturday

"Arsenic and Old Lace” will hit the North Marion High School stage this weekend, put on by the North Marion LINDSAY KEEFER - Martha Brewster (center), played by North Marion senior Julia Coe, warns her nephew, Mortimer (right), played by junior Skyler Younger, not to drink the elderberry wine used for her victims, like Mr. Gibbs (left), played by senior William Benson, in a rehearsal for 'Arsenic and Old Lace.'

Performances are March 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for students and ages 65-plus.

The 1940s comedy revolves around a young man, Mortimer Brewster, who discovers that his sweet old aunts, Abbey and Martha, are in fact maniacal murderers.

“It doesn’t take him long to figure it out,” said junior Skyler Younger, who plays Mortimer. “He recently moved out and when he comes back to visit he finds a body in the window seat.”

The spinsters poison their victims with elderberry wine, which is laced with arsenic, strychnine and just a pinch of LINDSAY KEEFER - Jonathan Brewster, played by senior Chase Porfily, is taken down by police officers during a rehearsal of 'Arsenic and Old Lace' at North Marion High School.

“They see it as charity,” explained senior Julia Coe, who plays Martha. “They meet old men who are lonely so they ‘need to die’ to help them find peace.”

The problem is complicated by Mortimer’s two brothers: one who is crazy and thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, and one who is also a serial killer but has received plastic surgery to conceal his identity.

“It’s really fun; a lot of the scenes are tense,” said senior Chase Porfily, who plays murderous brother Jonathan. “It’s fun to act out all that aggression on the stage.”

Porfily will undergo a transformation like that of his character, thanks to creative parent volunteer, Robert Dickerson, who is helping him with a latex prosthetic mask to wear.

“The mask helps give a 3-D effect, with scars and everything,” said director Carol Read. “He has a way of carrying himself that with the mask he’s be really scary.”

Read said she picked the show because she knew she could assemble the right cast.

“The three leading males could have played each other’s roles,” she said.

“But they’re perfect when you put them together,” added sophomore Kayla Jackson, who plays Officer O’Hara.

The 21 cast and crew members have been working on the show since January, but they haven’t been allowed to see the 1944 movie of the same name starring Cary Grant.

“I want them to have their own take on it,” Read said, adding that it’s been amusing as they try to interpret jargon from 70 years ago.

Even if some of the lines are dated, this dark comedy is something anyone can enjoy, said senior Bekah Dron, who plays Elaine, Mortimer’s love interest.

“It’s a really exciting play that has a lot of surprises,” she said. “It will keep you on your toes.”

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