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Curtains Up, House Lights Down The Butler Did It at Massari Theater this weekend

by Scott Mastro TRINIDAD — Two weeks before opening night of The Butler Did It, the cast was flubbing lines, and to hear the tales of Thanksgiving rehearsal absences, the play might never have come together. However, Director Joe Reorda Jr. reassures, “I’ve never had a better cast. Everyone can act, and there’s not that overacting common with young actors.” This cast is college and high school students. In The Butler Did It, eccentric socialite and potential author career-booster, Miss one-letter-from-Marple Maple, is throwing a weekend party at eerie Ravenswood Mansion, and she’s invited a host of best-selling mystery authors to come as the detective characters in their murder series, R-a-v-e-n-swood is perhaps a nod to Poe’s immortal poem “The Raven.” A murder ensues, the authors are incompetent to solve the crime and instead take snipes at and make sexual advances towards one another all night long. The play’s language is at times musical, stylized, and sprinkled with double entrendres. Charley Chan knock-off Louie Fan likes his Far-Eastern proverbs. “When all the chickens cluck, cannot hear the rooster.” Sam Spade/Humphrey Bogart character Chandler Marlowe, is as hard-boiled as a one-minute egg spooned out of boiling water at forty-five seconds. East Coast High Society mystery novelist Charity Haze spouts, “That’s a stupid question.” Marlowe parries. “Give me a stupid answer.” Seasoned playwright Tim J. Kelly’s The Butler Did It was chosen to match the strengths and sensibilities of the ensemble cast, some theater majors, some not. Everyone is someone else, and the actors slip in and out of character as the action unfolds, each author vying for Miss Maple’s financial endorsement while trying to solve the murder and keep from being the next body in the basement. The New York Times says, “There are ample opportunities here for laughs and double-whammy thrills.” At dress rehearsal Saturday night, there are technical glitches with the set (to be expected), and a few lines get crossed up, but the play is coming together. There are twists. Miss Maple fakes a murder to further test her incompetent-crime solving guests. Then there’s the man in trench coat, hat, and dark glasses, and the man’s face seen at the window. There is even a radio broadcast telling the guests a psychopathic killer has escaped from the mental hospital and is headed to where they are unfortunately stranded until morning. Which among them would perpetrate such a humorless charade? The murderer’s identity is wrongly identified several times, and, coincidentally, there isn’t a butler in the whole show, but Shakespeare said, “The play’s the thing,” and The Butler Did It is at the Massari Theater this weekend. Massari Theater is located at Trinidad State Junior College, State Street & Broom Street – 719-846-5474. Tickets for adults are $5 and seniors, students, children, and TSJC students get in free. The play will be performed Dec 5, 6, 7 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) at 7 pm and Dec 8 (Sunday) at 2 pm.