Quirky, layered characters deepen 'The Mousetrap' mystery


February 26, 2016

“The Mousetrap,” SUNY Oswego’s student honors production opening Friday, March 4, offers a character-driven play populated with legendary mystery writer Agatha Christie’s delicious inn-full of quirky characters, and the driven actors portraying them.

The players take the stage for a preview at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, and then for the run of the play at 7:30 p.m. March 4, 5, 11 and 12, with a finale at 2 p.m. March 13 in Hewitt ballroom.

Senior broadcasting and mass communication major Josh Jarvi plays Detective Sgt. Trotter, who must investigate a murder at Monkswell Manor. Trotter doggedly interrogates owners and visitors at the guest house, driven by his sense of duty.

“He’s an observationalist,” said Jarvi. “He knows there’s a lot to a person, that you have to figure out layers and layers till you find out what you really want to know.”

A mysterious guest named Paravicini is one who comes under Trotter’s steady gaze. Junior theater major Libbie Wansink says her character is driven to protect secrets of his own.

“I think his mindset is, ‘If I act as if I’m so suspicious, it’ll be obvious and no one will suspect me (of the murder),” said Wansink, who had to master male mannerisms to get comfortable with the character.

Crediting crew

The rest of director Ana Richardson’s cast includes Mrs. Boyle (Kelci Schlierf), Christopher Wren (Brian Bueche), Major Metcalf (Evan Debevec-McKenney), innkeepers Mollie and Giles Ralston (Megan Twamley and Peter Kunz) and Miss Casewell (Taylor McCown).

“Everyone is driven to make the production the best we can,” said Jarvi, who has previously appeared in SUNY Oswego’s “Sherlock Holmes” and “Young Frankenstein,” as well in earlier plays at the Civic Center and Syracuse Children’s Theater. “Ana is driven. We’ve come a long way from where we were when we first read for the play. She’s gotten everyone where we needed to be.”

Richardson, a senior majoring in both theater and broadcasting, said, “I’ve always been on the other end, acting, so I really wanted the experience of directing a show, as well, … More than anything, I think I’m a kind of director for the actors.” One thing she has urged the players to do is “to give the audience a sense of the inner life of the character.”

Wansink, who previously appeared in “The Bacchae” on campus, said the first-time director has what it takes. “She’s a great director,” Wansink said. “She has her vision and she knows what she wants to achieve. Then we (the actors) have to bring it to life.”

Richardson credited her crew with bringing together all the theatrical elements necessary to make “The Mousetrap” a delightful night of suspense and hilarity: assistant director Cadi Hannold, sound designer Rachael Kepler, master electrician Gregory Brewster, lighting designer Nicole Marlowe, scenic designer Ola Kraszpulska, assistant scenic designer Emma Johnson, technical director Cheyenne Bonnewell, properties master Jessica Culligan, assistant properties master Alexandra Matsu, costume designer Corrine Bottelsen and costume shop supervisor Judy McCabe.

Tickets for “The Mousetrap” are $15 ($7 for SUNY Oswego students) and are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 315-312-2141. All tickets for the March 3 preview are $5.

Parking is included in the price of a ticket and is available in the employee lot in front of Culkin Hall and in the rear half of the employee/commuter lot behind Hart and Funnelle residence halls. Patrons with disabilities needing assistance should call 315-312-2141 in advance of a performance.

PHOTO CAPTION: Shock and awe—In SUNY Oswego’s student honors production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” the revelations keep on coming as the play unfolds, offering a murder mystery that’s both suspenseful and funny. It all starts Thursday, March 3, with a preview and runs March 4, 5, 11, 12 and 13 on the stage in Hewitt ballroom.