Halloween is over, but a mystery farce is fun any time of the year. The Dragon's Den Players are to present "Exit the Body" by Fred Carmichael this weekend at Tiffin University. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in the Osceola Theatre, inside the Gillmor Student Center.
The setting for the play is the 1960s in an idyllic country home in New England. There, the famous mystery writer Crane Hammond plans to spend a relaxing month of writing, away from the city; however, it doesn't take long for the peaceful ambiance to be broken. Confusion unfolds with a cast of colorful characters, hidden diamonds and dead bodies that appear and disappear from a closet with two entrances.
Paige Hanson portrays Crane and Cari Lyczek-Roser plays her secretary, Kate Bixley, a cynical city girl.
PHOTO BY PAT GAIETTO
Paige Hanson, as Crane, discovers the first of many bodies (Taylor Tackett) in this scene from “Exit the Body.”
When the two women arrive, Vernon Cookley (Graham Altizer) brings in their baggage. Helen, the rental agent (Nicole Beard), informs the guests the former tenant was killed in an automobile accident. He had been accused of a jewelry heist, but the stolen diamonds had never been found.
Crane is determined not to let anything spoil her vacation, but she faints at the sight of a corpse in the closet.
Crane calls the sheriff but, before he arrives, Jenny (Chelsea Garza) the maid turns up at the door. Kate directs her to the kitchen to get some dinner ready. The audience learns Jenny's boyfriend, Randolph (Justin Grimes) has been ordered by "the Boss" to search the house and find the diamonds.
Another visitor turns out to be Lillian (Julie Banks), a designer who lives next door. She and Crane are good friends.
With Lillian is the man whose body Crane had seen in the closet - but he is very much alive. Lillian introduces him as Lyle (Taylor Tackett), her new husband. His appearance in the closet was supposed to be a joke for Crane, but she doesn't find it funny.
To add to the confusion, Lillian doesn't want anyone to know she has remarried.
While Crane is wondering what she will she tell the sheriff, he arrives. It turns out Vernon is the sheriff, as well as the driver and gardener in the rural community.
Kate offers him a drink while Crane tries to explain the prank. Her narrative is interrupted by Jenny and Helen. In frustration, Crane flings open the closet to show Vernon the body is gone, only to find another body in its place.
She promptly faints away again as the lights go out.
During Act II, two more characters appear, Philip (Ethan Hug) and Richard (Aaron Stewart). Chaos erupts as the characters come and go through multiple doors in search of the jewels.
Some of the people are not who they appear to be, but everything eventually is sorted out, and all the bodies are accounted for. See the show to learn where the diamonds turn up.
Mary Grennen is directing the production, which includes an extensive set, many sound and light cues and lots of action. Tickets are $4 at the door.