Stage Crafters Presents: Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap

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By Douglas Henderson

We open with a murder. There is shouting, a police whistle sounds, and then a gravelly voice on the radio tells us: A woman named Maureen Lyon has been killed, the suspect is on the loose, and the terrible winter storm ravaging the countryside will continue.
As is often the case, the whodunnit-seed is planted, and we sit on the edge of our seats, hoping to figure out the mystery. The tension is palpable, and the thrill of it all is addicting.

Stage Crafters Director Gail Hurley
Stage Crafters Director Gail Hurley

On June 7th at 7:30 p.m., the curtain will open on Stage Crafters’ production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. This will be the second show of their 52nd Season, and it is a classic. When asked why she chose this play for her directorial debut, Gail Hurley said, “I’ve always been fascinated by Agatha Christie and the process of finding the murderer. I watch crime shows all the time. My husband says I’m trying to look for the perfect way to bump him off!”

What would become the longest-running play in the world started life in 1947 on the radio as Three Blind Mice. Christie based her story on the very real 1945 case of Dennis O’Neill, represented by the opening radio broadcast of the play. In her own distinct style, Christie allowed the story to blossom by adding a cast of eight unique characters.

“Every single person in the show is harboring a secret; some are benign and sweet, but someone’s a murderer,” Hurley said. “We peel the onion and learn what their secrets are, but the play doesn’t tell you all of it until the very last scene.”

Agatha Christie famously stipulated her story could not be published while it was being performed in London’s West End. At the beginning of each of the 29,500 and counting performances at St. Martin’s Theatre, the audience has been asked not to reveal the twist and spoil the experience for the next audience. Hurley insists she will honor this tradition before each of Stage Crafters’ upcoming six performances.

“That’s what I like about the show the most, how it unwraps like a present,” she said. “I hope we’re able to bring these characters to the stage and draw the audience in to where they really don’t know who did it. So that, by the end, they’re really surprised.”

As is always the case, Stage Crafters is an all-volunteer, community theatre. The cast and crew of this show exemplify the organization’s growth beyond their amateur status. We close with the recognition that Stage Crafters made it to 50 years, because of its community, and it will be the community who keeps theatre alive for another 50 years.

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap runs June 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m., and June 9 and 16 at 2 p.m., at the Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium, 109 Miracle Strip Pkwy, FWB, 32548. Tickets are $25 and available online or in the lobby before the show; www.StageCraftersFWB.com/buy-tickets.