Murder, mayhem and mystery will be the main ingredients of the Heritage High School Players’ presentation of Agatha Christie’s three-act play “And Then There Were None,” slated for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3 and 4, in the school auditoria. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.
The play, which is based on Christie’s novel of the same name, is sure to draw a full house because it’s required reading for all Heritage freshmen. Director Jackie Davis said she chose the dark comedy/murder mystery for that very reason. It’s just the second play she has directed. “It comes with a PG Rating because almost everyone in the cast gets murdered, weapons are involved, there’s smoking on stage, and there are even a few swear words. I wouldn’t advise parents to bring small children,” she added.
Last May the group presented a one-act play entitled “Check Please” in a dinner theater setting in the school’s auditoria catered by Salvatori’s Restaurant. It was the first play at the school in four years. With a successful production under their belts, they decided to take on a bigger challenge involving three acts, several costume changes and lots of props. Auditions were held Aug. 17 and the cast of 11 and two crew members have been rehearsing two to three times a week.
“The students are taking to it naturally,” Davis said. “They’ve watched it on the Internet and U-Tube, have already gotten into their characters and have developed good stage presence. Of course they’re all familiar with it from their freshman English class. There’s a lot more dialogue to learn and the students will be on stage for longer periods than in the one-act play.”
Senior Jerome Lechleitner is the male lead and Addison Berry, a sophomore, is the female lead. Ben Castleman, a junior, has an important role and is one of the characters who is not killed off until late in the performance. All three participated in the spring play.
Davis, a Fort Wayne native and graduate of Blackhawk Christian High School, got her love of theater by participating in the school’s drama department plays and musicals and performing in the choir.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Taylor University and a master’s in special education at University of Saint Francis. She began her teaching career at Fort Wayne Community Schools in special education. After taking nine years off to start her family, Davis began teaching special education at Heritage High School and is now the special education teacher at Woodlan Elementary where both of her children are students. Her husband, Andy, guidance counselor at Woodlan High School, is assistant director working with junior Isaac Welch in the sound and lighting booth.
Serving as historical/story line adviser is freshman English teacher Katie Harris. She grew up in Fort Wayne, is a Heritage High School graduate, received a bachelor of science degree from University of Saint Francis and a master’s in English writing from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
She’s been teaching freshman English at Heritage since 2011 and has been immersing her students in the Agatha Christie book for the past five years. They began reading it this month and will finish before Halloween. They each take on the part of the detective, keep notes on all the suspects, discuss crime scenes and set up a murder board. “It has been my favorite book for years,” Harris said, “and it’s fun to watch the kids get involved in it, as well.”