North Carroll High drama club takes on psychological thriller


November 10, 1999|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IN THE TENSE psychological thriller "Night Watch," in production by the Drama Club at North Carroll High School, Elaine Wheeler's view from her luxury apartment is that of murder and suspicious visitors.

What Elaine sees, those around her do not -- or do they? The whining and fears cascade from Elaine, who's believed to be mentally unstable, as she alienates her husband, psychiatrist, maid and local police.

"The audience never knows. Did she see it? You won't know, until the very end, what is the true story," said Tom Scanlan, play director. Scanlan teaches English at North Carroll High.

"Night Watch" was written by Lucille Fletcher, whose writing Scanlan compares with Alfred Hitchcock's "The Hitchhiker" and "Sorry, Wrong Number." The play will be presented at 7: 30 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20 in the school auditorium. Tickets are $5.

"That shadow. That light over there. I'm on edge," confides Elaine, played by Sarah Middleton as a distraught, wispy blond who wants sense made of what she sees.

This is the first major speaking role for Sarah, a veteran of the drama club.

Each tremble of her soft voice escalates the suspense of who knows what about whom.

One confidant is her dispassionate husband, John Wheeler, played by Scott Applefeld. He comforts one moment and, in the next, has Elaine sign away her rights to the Wheeler business empire. He's having a fling with Elaine's best friend Blanche, played by the elegant Katie Murphy.

Another confidant is a psychiatric specialist for insomniacs, Dr. Lake, played by the silky-voiced Stephanie Meushaw. As Elaine recounts discovering her first husband's infidelity at the scene of his fatal car crash, Dr. Lake listens but does little to comfort.

"There is a suggestion that she might not be a psychiatrist at all," Scanlan said.

"This kind of show is a real stretch for high school kids," Scanlan said, but it's feasible because of the small cast of nine, plus understudies. He's modified adult language, but suggests young children will not understand the themes.

Skyler Brungartt plays the frustrated Lieutenant Walker and Josh Hunt the foot patrolman O'Rourke. Neither can find the crime reported by Elaine.

Helga, the nasty maid, has an effective German accent by Jenny Rigiel. Appleby, the friendly, caring neighbor to Elaine whom the others dislike, is played jovially by Matt Peregoy.

Deli owner Sam Hoke, who Elaine insists has a striking resemblance to the murder victim, is played by Scott Taylor. Students in the play are juniors, except seniors Scott, Sarah, Skyler and Jenny.

Andrew Wherley, a senior seasoned by five plays on stage, is the assistant director, who will have input into stage design.

Set building begins next week, with French doors, fireplace and the very important window through which Elaine can see but the audience cannot. "The audience will never see what she's seen," Scanlan says.

Ticket sales start Tuesday. Information: 410-751-3450.

Pecans and coverlets

Hampstead Lioness Club is selling 1-pound packages of Southern pecan halves and woven coverlets commemorating Hampstead landmarks.

"We've sold over 200 coverlets, and five people came today. They make nice gifts," said Maxine Miller, who has the remaining coverlets at her home.

The 100-percent-cotton coverlet measures 48 inches by 68 inches and is fringed on all sides. It is woven in multiple colors and depicts eight Hampstead landmarks and the town logo. It sells for $45.

The pecans were delivered fresh from Georgia. The Lioness Club plans to sell the nuts for $5.50 per pound and has 480 pounds available. Proceeds benefit Lions Club projects.

Recently, the Lioness Club, with about 15 members, donated $2,000 toward the Lions Club's addition of ball fields at Lions Club Park, home to children's sports activities.

To order pecans or coverlets, contact Maxine Miller at 410-374-6455.

Annual breakfast

If homemade pancakes with fresh country sausage stimulate your appetite, mark the calendar for the annual breakfast prepared by the Women's Club of Hampstead. The club will sponsor the breakfast at Hampstead Fire Hall starting at 6 a.m. Nov. 20. Proceeds benefit Hampstead Volunteer Fire Company.

The all-you-can-eat menu includes pancakes, sausage, eggs and hot apple slices. Tickets are being sold by club members. Cost is $3.50 in advance or $4 at the door.

Tickets: Elsie Cooper, 410-374-6842 or Doris Finney, 410-239-2638.

Author to visit

Ken Munro, author of a children's mystery series set in Lancaster County, Pa., will visit Spring Garden Elementary School on Nov. 19.

Munro is a retired sixth-grade teacher who will discuss with fourth- and fifth-grade pupils how he develops plots, why he chose to write about two teen-age detectives, and how he uses people and places familiar to him in Lancaster County.

His mystery stories are written for readers ages 9 through 13, but are of interest to adults.

Information: 410-751-3433.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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