Find out WHO did it, WHERE, and with WHAT at Lees-McRae Theatre Arts production of “Clue”

As the first signs of autumn begin to arrive, the Lees-McRae Theatre Arts department is preparing for a spooky season of their own with their first production of the year, “Clue.” Audience members will join a familiar cast of colorful characters on the Lees-McRae stage in Hayes Auditorium when the show plays from Thursday, Sept. 29 through Sunday, Oct. 2.

Led by Wadsworth the butler, dinner guests Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and Colonel Mustard will be brought to life by student actors as they set off to solve the mystery of their dinner party host’s murder.

While many people will be familiar with this tale of mystery and murder from the board game and feature film of the same name, Program Coordinator and Professor of Theatre Arts Michael Hannah, who will direct the play, said that this adaptation will still provide plenty of surprises.

“I think it's really for an audience that knows the game or the movie, and it’s just entertaining. You're trying to do some sort of logic to figure out who did it,” Hannah said. “It's just funny and silly. The physical humor is very funny to watch, and I think it's just pure entertainment.”

Although the play combines comedy and mystery, preparing for the show has not been all fun and games. Hannah said this show will challenge the Theatre Arts students participating in the production both backstage and under the spotlight and push them to stretch and develop their skills.

On the technical theatre side, nailing the set to represent the grandeur of Boddy Manor, the setting of the dinner-party-turned-murder at the center of the play’s plot, has required a lot of creativity.

“The play takes place in Boddy Manor, and if you've ever seen the board game there are all these different rooms, so we’ve got to have lots of different spaces,” Hannah said. “You don't really have time to completely revamp the stage into a new room, so you use pieces. We use freestanding doors that move around, we use pieces of furniture that move in and out, and the actors will run around and do curlicues to make it look like they're going down the hallway and back around. You have to give the audience the impression that they're moving through a big space, when really, it's a fairly small space on stage.”

Hannah said that the student actors will also be challenged by “Clue.” Due to the play’s comedic nature, he said it requires a very stylized kind of acting where characters often represent over-the-top caricatures of themselves rather than a more subtle performance like one required for a dramatic play.

“One of the challenges is timing and keeping the energy level up. It is a 90-minute play, and it does not have any intermission. That means you just keep it moving,” Hannah said. “In some cases, they're playing characters that are fairly different from them as regular actors, so I think it'll be fun for them to be able to try new things. Some of them get to do accent work which is fun. There's a lot of physicality, there's a lot of falling to the floor, and a stage slap, and people are dragging each other around, so I think it'll be fun physically for them.”

With fun sound effects, a live piano score played by Hannah himself, and goofy humor, “Clue” is sure to delight audiences. There will be four performances of the show, including two over Homecoming weekend, so alumni returning to the mountain will have the chance to catch a show.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29−Saturday, Oct. 1, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Tickets for all showings of “Clue” are available for purchase

Learn more about this year’s Theater Arts productions

By Maya JarrellSeptember 08, 2022