Westerville North High School's theater department wants to put audiences into the Halloween spirit by providing a little murder, mystery and some laughs with its production of "Murder Can Be Habit-Forming."

Westerville North High School’s theater department wants to put audiences into the Halloween spirit by providing a little murder, mystery and some laughs with its production of “Murder Can Be Habit-Forming.”

Performances will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 27, 28 and 29 at Westerville North, 750 County Line Road. Tickets are $6.

The play takes place at a convent in upstate New York, where a busload of strangers is stranded by a blizzard. They know from a radio announcement that a murderer targeting women named Mary is on the loose.

“In a convent setting, you can imagine the chaos that would take place,” said director Kim Mollohan.

In addition to all of the nuns being named Mary, there are several women named Mary who were on the bus. They know from reports that the murderer is a fellow passenger.

Mollohan said with North’s play scheduled for Halloween weekend, she was determined to find a production that was both chilling and family-friendly.

“I probably read more scripts over the summer than I’ve read in the last three years trying to find the perfect one for Halloween weekend,” Mollohan said. “It’s hilarious and chilling.”

The cast has worked hard to keep the identity of the killer under wraps, holding rehearsals in a locked auditorium and swearing not to tell any family or friends.

“We were warned the first day not to tell anyone,” said junior Taylor Koeth, who plays an actress with a TV show based on a woman named Mary. “I’ve had people try to steal my script to try to see how it ends.”

Junior Samantha Gaston, who plays Mary Adams, said the play will keep the audience members guessing.

“It keeps you interested until the very end,” Gaston said.

In addition to the suspense, those involved in the play said the audience will enjoy the rich and often humorous cast of characters.

The nuns, in particular, provide a great deal of diversity and comedy and often are at odds with one another, said senior Emma Henderson, who plays college student Mary Bishop.

“You expect the nuns to be all the same and very holy,” Henderson said. “They all have their own personalities and they clash a little more than you expect.”

The set also serves an important role in the play.

The convent, in an old mansion donated to the church by a pirate, is filled with medieval relics and secret passages. More is revealed about its background as the play progresses.

“The setting’s just as complex as the characters,” Henderson said.

Mollohan said she encourages the community to come see the play to gear up for Halloween and to have a few laughs.

“It will get everyone in the Halloween spirit and just chill them out a little,” Mollohan said. “It’s chilling how it happens, but it’s super funny. I think that’s what I loved about it.”

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com

www.ThisWeekNEWS.com