The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs presents a world premiere play that is part murder mystery, part tragedy and most parts farce. Macbeth: The Murder Mystery runs July 22 – 25 as part of the Centers “Just Desserts Theatre” where audience members not only choose who will be the murderer at each performance, but also their favorite sweet treat at intermission.
Co-authored by the Centers’ film and theatre director Frank Blocker with Atlanta-based filmmaker and teacher Lydia Bolen, the play takes its plot points and characters from the original Shakespeare tome, applying it to the murder mystery format. Instead of Banquo’s murder at the hand of Macbeth’s hired gun Seyton, our anti-hero’s executive assistant Bruce lands on the hitlist of bitter ex-employee Iona Winchester. The three witches are represented in a single character: the mother-in-law to our ambitious lead. Instead of the dog-eat-dog world of wartime, it’s the cutthroat business of computer hardware and app development.
In the vein of murder mystery dinner theatre, the Center will not be serving a full meal, but will provide choices in desserts as well as optional endings. Each performance, the audience gets to decide who the murderer will be—the cast will then make plot adjustments based on their selection. The endings are drawn from the concepts suggested by Shakespeare scholars as to who and what is to blame for the original tragedy: Macbeth’s lust for power, Lady Macbeth’s ambitions, or the interference of the supernatural.
Co-author Lydia Bolen will be in attendance during the final rehearsals and will be available for audience talkbacks following the performances. Bolen will also conduct adult and teen ‘Acting for Film’ workshops during the week of July 19.
Each of the endings will be conducted by a different director: Janina Birtolo, Judith Devine and Toni Palumbo. The cast includes Mickey Lacroix and Leeanne Chiaramonte as our villainous leads, Anne Reed as the squeaky-clean Duffy, Melissa Hennig as triple-witch and mother-in-law Helen, Keith Gahagan as trusted assistant Bruce, Jeff Green as Duncan, Joanne Fritz as Iona, Emilie Baartman as Officer McKelvey and finally Betsy Klopp Bennett of Assisted Living, the Musical-fame plays the frighteningly hilarious Grandma Hackett. Hennig doubles as the barking voice of dog Spot. Lighting designer Jeff Blodgett and stage manager Marlene Strollo round out the technical staff.
Performances will be Thursday through Saturday, July 22 – 24, at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, July 24 – 25, at 2 p.m.
Shows will be presented in the Performing Arts Center, Moe Auditorium, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs.
All tickets are $30. For tickets and info, call 239-495-8989 or visit www.artcenterbonita.org.