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Take a step into ‘The Mousetrap’
As the London production nears 26,000 straight performances, the Port Angeles Community Players returns with its own streak of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.”
For the third time, the acting troupe brings the performance to Port Angeles, celebrating the group’s and the play’s 60th year.
Director Nancy Beier said the play also marks a full circle for actress Kathleen Balducci.
“She played Mollie Ralston in 1974 and then directed it in 1996 and now she’s Mrs. Boyle,” Beier said. “A lot of the reason we chose her was because of that. I thought it was a fitting circle.”
While the long-running play is well known, Balducci said it’s a play for anyone.
“If you’ve never seen it, there’s a surprise,” she said. “If you’ve seen it, then you watch the puzzle unfold.”
Set in Monkswell Manor outside of London, Christie’s play begins with Mollie and Giles Ralston (played by Erin and Ean Henninger) greeting guests in one of the worst snowstorms in a decade.
On the radio they learn of news of a murder in London, at which, a police sergeant (Chandler Wendeborn) reveals, there was a notebook with two addresses written in it — the crime scene and the manor.
“It’s classic Agatha Christie,” Beier said. “You can always count on her for a good whodunnit.”
She describes “Mousetrap” as a cozy mystery where you could enjoy it in front of the fireplace with a cup of tea.
“There’s no bad language, gratuitous violence and it’s not like current entertainment with blood and gore,” Beier said.
Attendees, as is tradition, are asked not to reveal the ending.
Tradition is key
Balducci and Beier said running a Christie play is tradition.
“Our budget depends on the audience coming,” Beier said. “Even though they may have seen it people enjoy her (Christie’s) plays.”
While each production has changed its sets and costumes, the characters do not change, such as Balducci’s Mrs. Boyle.
“She’s an awful person but she’s integral to the plot,” she said. “Everyone in an Agatha Christie play is connected somehow. She has a connection to the murder that has already happened, but it’ll take the audience awhile to figure it out.”
Balducci has been involved with the community players for 43 years and finds the rest of the cast is a combination of new and seasoned actors.
“It’s good to see we’re still here and bringing younger members in,” she said. “I’ve worked with two or three of them in other productions and it’s fun for me to wonder if they’ll be here in 40 years like I have been.”
The rest of the cast includes Stephanie Gooch, Jeremiah Paulsen, Richard Stephens and Philip Young.
In the community players’ 60th season, Beier said, the actors remain grateful for big turnouts.
“For me, I find it a necessity to go to the theater,” she said.
For more information on the PACP, call 457-0500.