It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
BY BRONWYN WEISMILLER ON OCTOBER 18, 2013
The doors closed, the lights darkened, and the curtain began to rise. Normally my first choice for what to do on a Friday night wouldn’t be to go and see a Rose play. However, by the end of the show I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and the quality of the theatre department.
“It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” depicts the story of sisters Hepzibah (Preston Bradsher) and Arabella (Kameron Duncan), their cousin Ebenezer (Charlie Cannon), old Uncle Silas (Nikolas Ebron) and the hired help, Olive (Lauren Raines). The family resides in Ye Olde Wayside Inn, a hotel they refuse to leave despite the lack of business because it once belonged to an old soldier who deserted Washington at Valley Forge. Because of an ad in a local newspaper wanting a nurse, there are many applicants on the way for an interview. The winds howl, and the roads flood, forcing strangers to stay at the inn. The storm causes Ebenezer to become grim and to reminisce on his failed love with a girl named Ephie. He lures strangers in thinking that they are his lost love. Young nurses, taxi drivers, and a detective and among some of the inhabitants of the inn. The first is Jane Adams (Mattie Ocker), a job applicant and thief. She enters the house and immediately steals a picture frame and candle stick holder. After Ebenezer introduces her to her patient, a corpse, she immediately flees from the house, only to be trapped in the cellar. Mary Shaw (Kennedy Pierce) is the next applicant. She is a young nurse who is eager to take on the job. She is not afraid by the unappeasable attitude of Ebenezer and decides to commit to the job. This only lasts until she realizes how tormenting the family is. Having not heard from her sister in quite some time Dorothy Blake (Rachel Taylor), Mary Shaw’s younger sister, sets off to find her with her friend Ed Perkins (Marcel Lanier). Despite the dangers she hears from Snell, the state trooper (Thomas Reisch), Dorothy refuses to rest until she knows her sister is alive and well.
As the night goes on two more guests arrive, Belle Malibu (Sarah Heard), a vital witness, and Dawson (Tyler Jones), a detective. They were riding to the police station when the roads became so muddy and slippery that they had no choice but to stop. As they enter the house they hear strange noises coming from a chest in the corner. Being the detective that he is, Dawson opens the chest to find Mary Shaw with her arms and legs tied together. Shaw tells Dawson all of the horrible things that Hepzibah, Arabella, and Ebenezer have been evoking. Dawson investigates the house while Dorothy and Belle stay in the kitchen. Without even a knock on the door Smiling Sal, the beauty gal (Amanda Scanlan), enters the house. She begins campaigning all of her products when the girls hear screaming coming from the cellar. In runs Jane Adams and Mary Shaw begging to get away from Ebenezer.
The next morning Ebenezer is in handcuffs while held at gunpoint. Hepzibah and Arabella aren’t the least bit shocked of Ebenezer’s behavior, saying that it is normal for him to act this way when it storms; it reminds him of Ephie. The guests of the inn flee as soon as the roads are open, not wanting to be in Ebenezer's grasp any longer. After they leave, a young nurse by the name of Euphemia (Anna-Gray Anderson) enters the inn to inquire about the job position. The first thing she tells them is that she goes by her nickname, Ephie, leaving the audience wondering what Ebenezer will do next.
Before seeing this show, I hadn’t been to a Rampant Theatrical Company play since The Wizard of Oz at least 10 years ago. Going into the theatre, I wasn’t expecting much. Within five minutes of the play beginning I was blown away by the talent that some of the students posses. Not once did a student forget their line or stumble on their words. It was prevalent that all of the actors were in tune with their roles. The theatre department has grown tremendously over the years and I don’t see that growth stopping any time soon considering most of the actors were underclassmen. I think I can speak for everyone in the theatre that due to the connection with all of the characters and the eeriness of the production, everyone was on the edge of their seats the entire time; especially when there was a power outage in the middle of a scene.
If you’re like me and wouldn’t initially think of going to a Rose play, I strongly suggest that you reconsider. The talent and professionalism in the Rampant Theatrical Company is something that everyone must witness for themselves.