Mentor Theatre Fall Season Recap

Excitement for Thespians in Lake County
Mentor Theatre is a member of the International Thespian Society as Troupe #6
Mentor Theatre is a member of the International Thespian Society as Troupe #6

This fall was a very exciting time for the International Thespian Troupe #6 of Mentor High School.

Mentor Theatre kicked off its 100th Anniversary season with an alumni/student musical review. This performance included hand-picked excerpts and songs from prior musicals and plays. Some musicals included “Phantom of the Opera,” “The Music Man,” “Legally Blonde,” and this year’s spring musical “Sweeney Todd.” The dialogue from the performance included lines from shows like “Bull in a China Shop,” “Barefoot in the Park,” “Leading Ladies,” and this year’s fall show “Night Must Fall” – all productions that Mentor Theatre has staged in its first 100 years.

The revue was hosted by alumni Owen Greene and Charlie Marthaler. This show also featured alumni performers such as Becca Kuch and Lauren Hodkey, a well-loved and respected Mentor Theatre alum. Alumni from as far back as Rob Walland’s Class of 2001 and Andrea Bobeczko-Gyure’s Class of 1990 were also represented. It was a wonderful night that brought together Mentor Theatre students of the past and the present.

The fall season continued with this year’s play, “Night Must Fall” by Emlyn Williams. This frightful tale of love, loss, and fear was excellently portrayed by the incredible cast. Director John Greene says, ¨Night Must Fall encapsulated all that is Mentor Theatre. We took a challenging production and made it great with a talented cast comprised of five newcomers and three veteran performers. It was truly a wonderful experience.¨

The plot takes place in the firey Mrs.Bramson’s (Cecelia Kuch) home tucked away in the English countryside. Her niece Oliva, reserved yet clever (Emily Burns), her maids – the comical Mrs. Terence and innocent Dora (Jolie Fisher and Maggie Coughlin), – and the humorous Nurse Libby (Noni Arndt) are all there to aid her every need. There has recently been a woman that has gone missing at it is plaguing the town. Oliva is starting to consider settling down with her admirer honest yet lovestruck Hubert (Payson Chapman) when a strange thing happens. Dora announces to the bunch she is pregnant. The obvious question comes up, who exactly is the father? Mrs. Bramson says that Dora must marry this man and that he is to come meet her. The father turns out to be a young man named Dan (James Goodman) a lonely and odd TallBoys employee. There is something odd about Dan, so much so that the inquisitive Inspector Belsize ( Ben Mögebauer) is called to the house to investigate not only Dan but see if he can come to a conclusion about the missing women. Everyone seems to have fallen capture to Dan’s charm, everyone except for Oliva. Tension builds as Oliva starts to question Dan’s very character and motives. Yet, Dora, Mrs. Ternece, Oliva, and Hubert decide to go through Dan’s personal belongings. They uncover a strange connection between the missing woman and Dan.  They appear to have been lovers at one point and time. Throughout all of this, Mrs. Bramson and Dan develop an almost mother-and-son-like bond, as he becomes her primary character.

Suddenly without warning, the body of the missing woman is found. Inspector Belsize and Oliva’s suspicion is at an all-time high of Dan, while Mrs. Bramson only continues to trust more. It is one fateful night, when everyone is gone, that Dan murders Mrs.Bramson, strangling her with a pillow. Oliva returns to the house, startled she is greeted by the sight of her aunt’s dead body. Oliva’s suspicion grew so strong she decided to ask the police to watch her house, as she believed it was Dan who in fact killed the woman who went missing. Her true feelings are shown through as she finds him at the scene of the crime and he confesses not only to the murder of Mrs.Bramson but his former lover, the missing woman. While Oliva is horrified, she is also overwhelmed with love. It is at this moment she realizes she is in love with Dan. As she swears she will lie on the stand, Inspector Besizes, Dora, and Mrs. Terneace burst in. Dan is arrested and taken into custody, but not before he and Oliva share a passionate kiss because it is at this moment he realizes he loves Oliva. Audiences watch as Dan is taken away, Dora is hysterical, Mrs Ternece attempts to console her, and Oliva is left to question everything she has ever known. Audiences then watch as the lights go down, and the run of “Night Must Fall” concludes. This play was a fan favorite that left people frightened, interested, engaged, and extremely satisfied. 

This show was absolutely incredible and was a great way to kick off this year. Big thanks to the whole cast and crew, especially Mentor Theatre seniors for your hard work, time, and dedication to the program. This year is sure to be a good one because coming up is “Wait Until Dark” for the winter play, and “Sweeney Todd” is the spring musical. Be sure to give @mentortheatre a follow on Instagram for the latest thespian news.

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