'Dark and Stormy' doings

November 19, 1993|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

You definitely do not want to go to Ye Olde Wayside Inn in Massachusetts on a dark and stormy night, especially if you're an attractive, single nurse.

Why not?

Because Ebenezer Saltmarsh lives there, that's why.

To get the whole story, you have to attend the South Carroll High School Stagelighters' production of Tim Kelly's 1988 play "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow.

"Ebenezer is crazy and insane -- he was stood up at the altar on a stormy day, and he takes it out on everybody when there's a storm," explained Christopher Probst, who plays Ebenezer.

"Effie was my fiance, and she was a nurse, so when there's a storm, I put an advertisement in the paper for a nurse and I get drunk and get really insane," he said.

So obsessed with Effie is he that when he gets the nurses to the old inn, he tries to kill them. Fortunately, he has two cousins living with him who try to protect the women.

Alas, Ebenezer's cousins, sisters Arabella and Hepzibah, are nearly as crazy as he is.

'Hepzibah is the oldest, and she doesn't have a clue to what's going on around her," said Annie Carter, who plays Hepzibah.

Arabella, played by Kim Reals, isn't much better.

"We're obsolete," said Christopher. "We're stuck in a time warp of the late-18th, early 19th century while everybody else is in the present."

If you haven't guessed by now, "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" is a classic spoof of the 1920s and 1930s stage and film comedy-mysteries that were so popular between the two world wars.

"Ebenezer is trying to avenge being left for a Portuguese fisherman," said Mike Hoover, English and drama teacher and play director. "The nurses that keep coming disappear then reappear."

Adding to the hilarity are a couple of other old family members, one of whom dates to the Revolutionary War, plus a couple of unusual nurses who respond to Ebenezer's employment ad.

Altogether, the play has a cast of 14 students, and about 16 more provide technical support.

"It's touted as a cross between 'Arsenic and Old Lace' and 'The Addams Family,' " Mr. Hoover said. "The play won the Robert J. Pickering Award for playwrighting excellence in 1988. It's a new play poking fun at the old."

In other words, it's a fun evening for the whole family.

Tickets are $3 per person, available at the door. And if you don't feel like cooking before the Saturday show, the school's Key Club is serving a spaghetti dinner from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Dinner tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and $4 for children ages 6 to 12. If you plan to go to dinner and then the show, get a combined ticket for $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for children.

The school is at 1300 W. Old Liberty Road, Winfield.

Information: 795-8500.

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