The Larned High School play makes a reappearance


It has been a few years since Larned High School had its last play. But this year, Bethany Steinlage and a group of brave students brought the LHS play back with an exciting murder mystery based on the iconic “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie. The play took place at the Larned Community Center at 2 pm on Sunday, November 6th. The play brought quite a crowd to kickstart the new annual fall play program.

The plays had previously been sponsored by the Larned drama class. This class had been taught by Janet Fleske and most recently Paula Bailey. When Mrs. Bailey left, so did the yearly play. But Bethany Steinlage gave us some insight as to why the play has come back to life. She told us, “Mr. Wilson had talked about wanting it to start back up for students because it’s been gone and it’s another outlet for students in the fine arts. I told him I would be interested in doing it, so here we are.” 

The play was called “And Then There Was One,” and it followed a group of eight visitors and a butler and his wife stuck on an island with no communication with the outer world. The mystery started when guest, Margaret LaRue arrived “dead” and the nervous butler (Clayhorn), and his wife (Mimms), decided to hide the body to avoid being blamed for killing her. But the guests quickly realized that there were seven of them, instead of eight. They began to fake their own deaths one by one so that the real killer would soon be revealed but to no avail. There was never a murderer among them, only mistrust and suspicion. The play was resolved when the characters realized there was no killer and that they were called there to write a mystery novel by a mysterious host. 

The cast consisted of  sophomore Clara Shaver as Mimms, junior James Kingsbury as Clayhorn, freshman David Colglazier as Albert Prince, freshman Anna Bunger as Emily Plain,  senior Jacob Colglazier as Horatio Miles, junior Reese Watkins as Delores Biggs, junior Maverick Munden as Presley York, sophomore Trinity Camarillo as Heather Starlett, senior Easton Fitzpatrick as Matthew Charisma, freshman Xiamara White as Margaret LaRue, and senior Casey Smith as the Voice Recording. This script in particular had ten characters, excluding the Voice Recording, and Steinlage told us that she handpicked the roles that her actors were given. “What I enjoy most about this particular play is that it’s really goofy. It allows the actors that are in it to be super silly and take on a persona that is not their everyday persona.” James Kingsbury, who played Clayhorn, said that he liked the script because “it was very open and broad to where we could make our characters genuinely our own and overall it was a pretty fun script.”  But like everything, the play did not go perfectly. Maggie Haas said, “Friday and Saturday were a little bit rough. We had quite a few mistakes and dropped lines and malfunctions but it did end up going well.” Steinlage also mentioned that in hindsight, she plans on having students audition for their roles in the future.

A play cannot function without a backstage and a tech crew. For this play, the behind-the-scenes crew consisted of Cadee Upson, Cammy Upson, Skye Feldman, Akielah Collins, Addison Townsend, Maggie Haas, and Mia Munden. Maggie Haas told us, “I liked working with the people while not being on stage but still having something to do.” Haas also told us that the backstage crew modified and prepared props for use, made sure that actors had their props and were ready to go, and helped with anything last minute.

While the play may have made a recent reappearance, Steinlage already has big plans for the program. 

“I hope every year to do a one-week wonder in the fall that will happen like we have done this year. You get your scripts about a month in advance and then we do stage work for a week and then have a performance on the weekend. If things go well and we have good student interest, then I would like to have a bigger production in the spring.”

Steinlage told us that she would like for the drama program to eventually become a class again so that students can learn the basics of drama and acting. She hopes that the annual plays can be another outlet for students in the fine arts. The yearly play is back in business, and will hopefully be around for people to enjoy for years to come.