West TAP prepares for “Arsenic and Old Lace”

Arsenic and Old Lace, West TAPs upcoming play, will be showing November 13-November 15, 2015.

Arsenic and Old Lace, West TAP’s upcoming play, will be showing November 13-November 15, 2015.

Alexis Dohm, Opinion Editor

West TAP is preparing for their first play of the year this October as the cast and crew brings together Arsenic and Old Lace. The play will be running from November 13th and 14th at 7:00 pm, and November 15th at 2 pm.

The play, originally written by Joseph Kesserling in 1939, revolves around two sisters who have taken up an unconventional pastime – killing old men with arsenic laced wine. Abby and Martha Brewster, played by Allison Warner and Payton Pruitt, live with their nephew Teddy Brewster, played by Brooklyn DiPietrantonio, and are content with themselves, even considering their morbid hobby. But when Teddy’s brother, Mortimer, played by Zachary Karolek, comes to tell his aunts of his marriage, he discovers their secret and tries to stop them.

The cast includes many other characters, such as Jonathan Brewster, played by Scott Ziolecki, who is another nephew of the Brewster sisters that has committed many murders in order to change his identity and keep away from the police. Olivia Nyman plays Officer O’Hara, an aspiring playwright who constantly pesters Mortimer to read his work; and Dr. Einstein, played by Ilisia DuMez, an alcoholic plastic surgeon who changes Jonathan’s face for him.

When I interviewed the cast of the play, some of them explained to me that they were confident in where the play was headed to, but it would still take some work. The West TAP director, Judith Smith, tells me commitment to the play was rocky at first. “I think [the play is] going well! The biggest issue we’ve had is getting everyone in the same room, because so many kids had tennis and such. But now we’re back on track.”

This year many new students to West are joining the crew as well. When I went to the back of the stage, I noticed the number of older students was much different than what I thought. There were one or two high schoolers, and the rest were in middle school, a majority from seventh grade. Set director Blair Kath tells me that the younger turnout of help is “the future of the West TAP crew”.

The younger kids seemed enthusiastic about the entire Theater Arts program, and plan to continue working with West TAP for the rest of High School. One of the seventh grader’s I spoke to, Bella, very briefly told me “I plan to stay with the drama program for a long time. I might even audition for plays,” when asked about her future with the program.

The juvenile crew is far from amateur, though. When I went to the back, the four wall plan for the set was dismantled, but I could tell that it would look excellent when put together. Maroon and rusty orange walls were adorned by gold damasks to make the room the play took place in, and I watched the crew paint furniture. Though I was thoroughly impressed, one of the set workers, Olivia Nyman, tells me it’s not the hardest set they’ve built.

“It is fairly intricate because of the four wall plan. It’s definitely not the hardest set but it isn’t necessarily easy. The kids working mostly hate doing the little details, like stenciling [the damasks], but overall don’t find it that hard.”

Overall, the cast and crew of Arsenic and old lace are more than enthusiastic about their role in the play, and you can tell they are dedicated to making the performance great. Progress continues to be made, and it was obvious to me that even if they hit some rocky spots through the bringing together, in the end the play will succeed.