There is a murderer in this room, but who could it be? “The Mousetrap,” an Agatha Christie murder mystery, is a play to keep Menomonie theater goers on their toes. In the play, a group of individuals find themselves snowed in at a manor house located in England. The production holds various records as the longest-running play, but that isn’t to say that it isn’t suspenseful right up until the end, since one of the individuals in the group might just be a deranged murderer! Seth Berrier, an actor, animatedly describes the play as, “a locked room murder mystery in pure ‘whodunit’ fashion with unusual, quirky characters crafted by the master of mystery.”
Giles Ralston and his wife are two newlywed individuals featured in The Mousetrap. In the story, the couple inherited the manor house from the wife’s wealthy aunt, and they decided to open it up into a bed and breakfast. Erik Evensen, who plays Ralston, describes his character as, “a bit of a stuffed shirt,” or in other words, a more conservative, pompous person. Berrier is playing Detective Sgt. Trotter of the Berkshire Police, and he describes the character as “a simple, business-like detective that trusts no one and works with amazing efficiency to protect the guests and solve the mystery.”
Evensen was very involved in theater during his high school years, but only became involved again in the past year or so. He credited his friend Melissa Kneeland as one of the main reasons for why he was driven to audition. “[She] is directing this play, and she’s got a lot of professional theater experience and really knows how to coach actors, so I was excited to work with her.” Berrier agreed, “I wanted to work with Melissa Kneeland again,” and explained his reasoning, “I knew that she would have the perfect vision for this show because of her attention to period fashion and history and would put together an amazing cast, and she has not disappointed.” Evensen also noted that a majority of the cast were already friends of his before he auditioned, so he was positive it would be a good experience.
The Mousetrap is being put on by the Menomonie Theater Guild, or MTG, Menomonie’s community theater organization. Berrier enjoys being a part of MTG, saying, “The ability to work in the Mabel Tainter and with all the amazingly talented people around Menomonie is what draws me to MTG. I’m very heavily invested with them now, as I am a member of the executive board—I’m the treasurer—and I know all the main board members quite well.” This is also one of the reasons that motivated Evensen to get back into theater: “I realized, hey, now that I’m an adult, I can be on stage again, but now I can play adult roles, which was kind of a novel idea.” As a design professor, Evensen is doing creative work all day. However, he recognized that he enjoys doing creative work in a variety of ways, so he joined the local theater organization.
Evensen feels Menomonie greatly benefits from MTG, saying, “[MTG] really draws a lot of creative energy from the community.” He sees it as rewarding to be a part of this energy. With The Mousetrap, he enjoys the way it is set up. “[The Mousetrap] is a dialogue-heavy play with a small cast, and that’s the kind of acting I’m most comfortable with.” Berrier is also extremely passionate about his experiences in the MTG, adding, “Theater for me brings a welcome distraction to the hectic day-to-day life of a professor in Wisconsin, and some of the people that keep things running at MTG have come to be my best friends at Stout as well.” What’s most special to Evensen, respectively, is the engagement he receives: “I get to be on stage and make some art with a bunch of friends, which is always a good time.”
The Performances will be April 28 and 29, and May 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. and April 30 and May 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students, seniors and military.