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Magistrate Paul Sevigne, played by Chris Scoles (right), questions Josefa Lantenay, portrayed by Micah Hobday), the maid accused of killing a wealthy family’s bodyguard, during rehearsals for “A Shot in the Dark.” The comic-mystery will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday [NOV. 17-19] in the Chalmers Herman Theatre in East Central University’s Hallie Brown Ford Theatre. (Photo provided by ECU student Joe Cregger).
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‘A SHOT IN THE DARK’ COMIC MYSTERY OPENS THURSDAY AT ECU
A wealthy family’s chauffeur is murdered and all the evidence points to their maid. It’s an open-and-shut case – until a young magistrate talks with the maid and decides she is innocent in “A Shot in the Dark,” a comic mystery that runs Thursday through Saturday [NOV. 17-19] at East Central University.
The doors will open at 7 each night and the play will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Chalmers Herman Theatre in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center. Season ticket holders need to reserve seats on the night of their choice. Tickets are $10 or $9 for senior citizens and non-ECU students. They may be purchased online at tickets.ecok.edu or reserved by calling the theatre’s box office at 580-559-5751 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. ECU students, faculty and staff will be admitted free with valid ECU ID cards.
The play is a mystery, but the emphasis is on situational humor and witty dialog, said director B.J. Echard.
“The magistrate is under pressure to move this case through the system and be done with it,” he said. “The rest of the show centers on how to get her out of this mess and solve the question of who did it.”
Echard, a veteran actor in, and two-time director of, ECU Theatre productions before he graduated in 2009, now is an enrollment management specialist at ECU.
The setting is Paris in the 1960s. Magistrate Paul Sevigne, played by Chris Scoles of Ada, questions the maid, the beautiful Josefa Lantenay, portrayed by Micah Hobday of Poteau, who is accused of killing her lover. He believes in her innocence as the characters reveal what they know, including the affairs going on among several of them.
Sevigne’s wife, Antoinette, played by DeAnna Hibler of Oklahoma City, is jealous of the beautiful maid her husband is defending.
“But he’s a hero. He doesn’t fall for her,” Echard said.
Sevigne’s assistant, Morestan (Domineque Carey of Springer) provides “a kind of silent humor in the play,” Echard said, “some physical humor. He’s John Q. Public. He’s not a lawyer. He’s just a working stiff.”
Monsieur and Madame Beaurevers, played by Jared Scofield of Ada and Stephanie Davis of Gainesville, Texas, are the wealthy couple whose chauffeur was murdered. Beaurevers is carefree, freedom loving, flighty and very educated and well spoken, Echard said.
“Madame Beaurevers is very cold, aware of what wealth has given her,” he said. “She’s used to getting her way and when Sevigne goes against her, it’s a test of wills.”
Meanwhile, Sevigne’s boss, LaBlache (Jeff Bush of Bowlegs), is politically driven and afraid of the fallout of the case and what it might mean to his career, the director said.
“No one is going to pitch a fuss if the maid is convicted of the murder,” Echard said.
Also in the cast are Amber Huffman of Houston, Texas, as the janitor, and Madeline Williams of Broken Arrow as a guard.
“The play tries to steer the audience to think different characters are the murderer through the cycle of events, but the audience should have an idea of what happened by the end of Act 2,” he added. Act 3 sets the big trap to snag murderer.
“A Shot in the Dark” was adapted by Harry Kurnitz from the French play “L’Idiote” by Marcel Achard and opened in New York in 1961. A movie version starring Peter Sellers was rewritten to include Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the Pink Panther movie series and bears little resemblance to the play.
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