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East theater staging murder-mystery

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Don’t be late for Columbus East High School theater department’s production of “Appointment with Death,” an Agatha Christie murder mystery featuring her iconic Hercule Poirot about murder and intrigue in an exotic locale.

Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a matinee performance is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $4 each at the door of Columbus East High School, 230 S. Marr Road.

“It’s a psychological drama,” said Janelle Runge, the play’s director. “There’s no physical violence; it’s all a big head game.”

The plot sees a group of wealthy travelers visiting the King Solomon Hotel in Jerusalem. Some break away for a side trip to the city of Petra — but one of the travelers doesn’t return.

Haley Hiatt, a junior who plays Dr. Sarah King, said she and the rest of the cast have been practicing since the end of September. She said her character is determined and bold, which she said is nothing like her actual personality.

Madel Presto, a junior who plays Nadine Boynton, said memorizing lines has been challenging. But even more challenging for her has been to pour herself into her character to the point that she can temporarily take on another identity.

“You need to understand how your character relates to others, too,” Presto said.

Raven Stadtmiller, a junior who plays the fact-gathering Col. Carbury, said this is the biggest part he has played in a high school production. He had smaller roles in “Once Upon a Mattress” and “The Miracle Worker” during the previous two years.

Runge said the beauty of an Agatha Christie murder mystery is that the audience can try to figure out who committed the murder based on the facts the actors present.

But she said the audience probably will fall prey to the author’s classic plot twists.

She said she chose for her students to perform a fairly complicated show, because they have matured as actors over the past few years and are ready to take on the challenge.

If you go

What: Columbus East High School theater department’s performance of “Appointment with Death”

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: East’s auditorium, 230 S. Marr Road.

Tickets: $4 at the door

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