Francis Scott Key students are staging Christie mystery

Neighbors

April 18, 1996|By Judy Reilly | Judy Reilly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HIGH SCHOOL plays are a lot of fun, and "Appointment With Death," an Agatha Christie production on tap this weekend at Francis Scott Key High School in Uniontown, is no exception.

In the play, Sara Sykes plays the physically frail but controlling Mrs. Boynton, a stepmother of two grown sons and a daughter. She gets on her children's nerves, governing their every thought. The pressure of her presence makes them consider the unthinkable: murder.

They fantasize that once she is dead, they will be free to pursue their goals and dreams. Her heart is so weak that she will die soon anyway, and killing her, they rationalize, will merely hasten the process.

She dies shortly thereafter.

Was her death indeed a murder? Or did her weak heart fail to cope with the heat of the desert during a trip with her children to the Middle East? Perhaps she died from an accidental overdose of medication.

Many suspects are featured in this whodunit, including members of the tour group the family has joined on the trip. They include the group's psychologist, Sarah King, played by Jennifer Nicholls, who is in love with Mrs. Boynton's son, Raymond. She knows he will never be a free-thinking adult unless his manipulative, self-serving mother is out of the picture.

All the children are murder suspects. Raymond is discovered with the murder weapon in his pocket. His sister, Ginevra Boynton, has a slippery grasp of reality, and Lennox Boynton is convinced that his mother is causing a rift between him and his wife, Nadine. Raymond and Ginevra Boynton are played by Josh Barnes and Jessica Hansbrough; Tony Ebaugh and Liz Lee play Lennox and Nadine Boynton.

The play takes place at King Solomon Hotel in Jerusalem, and at Petra, a remote desert destination. Petra is rocks, caves, history and archaeology, as well as the site of ancient sacrificial rituals.

The sets are beautiful. It always amazes me what energetic and talented students can accomplish with imagination, elbow grease, borrowed goods, yard-sale finds and a trip to the second-hand store. The students have created a "Casablanca" mood at the hotel with wicker, Oriental rugs, baskets and pillars. The rocks and caves of Petra are spectacular, made with the humble materials of painted, crumpled craft paper on acoustic band shells. Jessica Hansbrough and Jennifer Nicholls created the set for Petra based on a travel piece in the New York Times that ran shortly after "Appointment with Death" was selected as this year's school play.

Drama coach Suzanne Summit has chosen a classic mystery script, and one to which teens can relate: a domineering mother, the need for personal independence, and the sense of comfort and security that comes with having a parent who takes care of everything.

The cast does a fine job all around -- from wearing period clothing with flair to mastering hundreds of lines in various foreign accents. Cast members bring the play to life with talent, dedication, enormous energy and obvious camaraderie.

"Appointment With Death" will be performed at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday in the Francis Scott Key High School Auditorium. Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. The school is at 3825 Bark Hill Road. Information: 751-3320.

Antiques expert to speak

Antiques lovers and collectors will enjoy the meeting of Taneytown Heritage Committee. Germantown resident and collector Roy Hartman will share his knowledge of De Laval cream separators, a rare item he has been collecting for years.

The meeting is at 7: 30 p.m. Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Taneytown. The meeting is open to the public and is free.

Taneytown Heritage Committee meets six times a year, the fourth Monday of March, April, May and September, October and November. Annual dues are $2.

Information: 756-2257.

Building dismantled

Are you wondering what's going on with the Southern States building on Baltimore Street in Taneytown these days? Baran Brothers Construction is tearing it down. The building was getting too shaky to be safe, said Karen Engel, manager of

Taneytown Southern States.

Southern States has no plans to replace the building, but will continue to operate a grain receiving station on the site.

Pub Date: 4/18/96

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