The West Hancock High School Theatre Department will present the interactive wedding murder mystery play, “Till Death Do Us Part, in the high school auditorium, on Nov. 9 and 10.

Director Sharayah Hacker, English and theatre education teacher at the high school, said she chose to do a murder mystery play because she’s been wanting to do one for the past two years.

“This year just seemed to be the right year,” Hacker said. “All the kids wanted it when I asked them what kind of play they wanted to do, and we went with murder mystery.”

Hacker said she chose “Till Death Do Us Part” specifically because it is a truly interactive play.

“I think I really enjoyed that it was a wedding to where the audience was like the guests at the wedding,” she said. “So they’re going to get punch, and they’re going to get intermission food and sit at the tables, versus some murder mysteries. They say they’re interactive but then the interactive is just calling out to the audience. This one is all-inclusive where the actors are walking around 24/7.”

The play takes place at a wedding between a full-on hippie bride and an assistant zookeeper groom whose family does not want him to get married to the hippie, according to Hacker. As the wedding goes on, issues come up right and left and then really spike when a mysterious aunt dies and another character dies shortly afterward.

“So most of the time, it’s the guests trying to figure out who did it,” Hacker said.

The play has 16 actors and 22 crew members, and actors Makayla Ansel, freshman, Chance Eden, junior, and Irvin Gomez, sophomore, said they have now been rehearsing for about the past month.

Ansel, who plays the maternal grandmother of the groom, said she auditioned for the play because she loves acting and being in front of a crowd.

“I love being out there, and I just thought being in theatre would be a great thing for me,” she said.

Eden, who plays the rich father of the groom, had been in plays the past two years as well in supporting roles, but this year he said he wanted to try for a bigger part with more lines to memorize to challenge himself.

“I tried to stay away from the larger roles, so I went for a larger one this year, see if I can tackle more lines, memorize more stuff,” Eden said. “We’ll find out [how it’s been going].”

What he did not expect was finding a connection with his part, saying the father of the groom is “like an older me.”

Gomez similarly found himself connecting with his role, a dance teacher with a Spanish background.

“I’m Hispanic, so I mean, I kind of relate,” he said. “It’s kind of who I am, you know?”

Ansel and Gomez said since this year was their first time acting in a play, they often found themselves getting help from the more experienced actors such as Eden.

“I enjoy being new because it’s something that I’ve never done and I can be like, ‘Oh, I’ve done this!’” Ansel said.

“For me, I’m a newbie, I mean, I guess,” Gomez said. “Whatever, I mean, I’m just learning from the experienced guys who’ve been here every year.”

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the play will start at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9 and 10. On Nov. 10, the matinee show will be at 2 p.m. with doors opening at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and children.

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