Saturday night, students at Plains High School put on a presentation of “Murder at the Orient Express.”
Students from the high school, along with some from the seventh and eighth grades, worked together for several weeks to put on the play in the Fairgrounds Pavilion.
Craig Sodaro wrote the 2009 edition, “Murder at the Orient Express” which is a updated rendition of the famed novel by Agatha Christie in 1934 called “Murder on the Orient Express.”
The play followed a group of people affected by the workings of a ruthless businessman named Seymour Twitt, played by Dayon Heingartnel. The cast is snowed in one night at the Orient Express. There they are accompanied by a detective named Dudley Sharp, who was played by Dawson Brown, searching for the origination of several threats directed toward the rich businessman. During the night, Twitt is murdered and the suspect is among the group stranded in the Orient Express.
The school play was directed by Terri Henry and the crew worked for six weeks to put the production together. They practiced in the library for several weeks and then moved into the Pavilion to practice in the space where the final production would take place. The play, and cast, was selected in an unusual process where casting in usually concerned.
Instead of picking a play and having students audition for parts, as is usually the tradition, the number of participants was noted first and then a play was selected afterward. This was done in order to include as many participants as possible. After this, students could try out for various parts to find where they fit best. This way everyone interested in participating in the drama program would have the chance to do so. The play was picked out by Gracie Cockrell.
Originally the drama program was limited to the high school, however in the last several years the program has reached out into the middle school to involve other interested students. The Plains drama program has been going on for over 26 years and involves many community members outside of just the school staff. The school shows two plays per year, one in the fall and one in the spring.
Students love the program as a different output beside traditional sports and arts.
Fortunately, the drama program’s funding is covered under the arts program at Plains, so unlike many school programs and sports the drama program can put more of their effort into putting on the plays instead of fundraising.
When asked if a student interested in participating in the drama program should get involved, Aubrey Tulloch, who played Hildegarde Harris, Seymour’s estranged sister, said “definitely do it! If you don’t get a part in the play you can work in the back or in tech.”