Members of the audiences for Grove City High School's fall play won't just be watching a show -- they may end up being part of the show.
The high school will present the murder-mystery comedy "A Family Reunion to Die For" at 7 p.m. Nov. 16-18 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 18-19 in the high school auditorium.
The show includes audience participation.
"Three of the characters (the murder victims) come off stage and interact with the audience," said Stefanie McConnell, an English and drama teacher at the school. "They'll pick audience members and ask them questions to help solve the mystery."
General admission is $8 for adults, $6 for students and $5 for seniors and children younger than 5. Top 55 card-holders are admitted free.
"It's a fun play with elements of mystery and comedy," McConnell said.
"I chose this play for this year's show because some of our students were talking about wanting to do a comedy," she said.
"We have been doing some more serious shows in recent years (including last fall's production of the court drama, '12 Angry Jurors') and we wanted to lighten things up this year." McConnell said. "It's difficult to find a play like this that is a comedy that's appropriate for high school students but that doesn't talk down to them."
"A Family Reunion to Die For" fit the bill, she said.
"It's a fun show for our students, but a challenging one," McConnell said. "Comedy requires you to be more precise than drama. This play also has some physical comedy -- there's a chase scene at one point that has to be pulled off."
The audience interaction "is something we've never tried before," she said.
Junior Alaina Murphy portrays Aunt Gretchen, the owner of the bed and breakfast where the family reunion takes place, and one of the murder victims who will interact with the audience.
"As soon as I heard about the show, I wanted to try out to be one of the victims," she said. "I thought it would be really fun to interact with the audience."
When it's time to pick who to approach, "I'll play it by ear," Murphy said.
"It depends on the audience and how you read them. You want to pick someone who's eager to participate. I'll be looking for someone who isn't averting their eyes and looking away," she said.
The spontaneity of the off-stage moments adds to the sparkle of the play, she said.
Senior Trace Carter plays Freddy Franklin, an amateur detective who is to marry Aunt Gretchen's niece.
"He's a security guard who really wants to be a detective," Carter said. "The problem is, he's not very intelligent and he's not very capable."
A murder-mystery comedy is ideal for this cast, he said.
"It's an amazing cast. Comedy is our thing," Carter said. "There's a lot of cutting up and joking that goes on among students here. A play like this just fits the character of Grove City."
"It's just a lot of fun to be doing a comedy," said senior Vicki Xiao, who plays Lola, a guest at the bed and breakfast visiting from New York City.
"I really enjoy the rehearsals because it's not as serious an atmosphere as a drama. It's more relaxed," Xiao said.