ILWACO - When a love triangle, an heiress, and a missing person suddenly disrupt an otherwise relaxing vacation, its juicy details typically end up in a news segment on CNN or Nancy Grace.
Soon the Peninsula will be able to experience such excitement, but this one will be onstage - and with a lot more laughs. As part of his senior project, Ilwaco High School senior Scott Clardy will be directing 26 other students in "Dress Rehearsal for Murder" this weekend.
Lasting approximately one hour, "Dress Rehearsal for Murder" takes place at the Bide A Wee Bed and Breakfast, which serves as an island getaway for the famous and well to do. In the midst of their luxurious stay, guests are trapped inside when a storm rolls in. The following morning a mime is missing, and it's up to the animated Inspector Barish (played by Owen Sutherland) to solve the mystery.
The cast of 17 provides numerous laughs throughout the show, such as the feather-duster-flinging maid, Minnie (Kelsey Douglass), who says what she wants and thinks about it later. Dr. Pilz (Andy Schott) can't quite seem to do anything right and Mr. White (Zhaung Zhaung Zhao) has no qualms about pointing it out to remind him. Mrs. Peabody (Annika Wolters) is purely eccentric and the cook, Agnes (Noelle McPhail), is hopelessly infatuated with the inspector.
Quite perhaps the funniest of all is when a washed up actress, Bettye (Eli Rose Fox), teaches a dance choreography lesson to the hotel guests and staff.
"I wanted something that would challenge me," says Clardy, who received help from mentors Rachel Lake and Kelly Jacobsen. "I didn't want to sail through. I wanted to be able to look back at the bumps in the road and see the challenges I overcame."
In addition to managing two-hour rehearsals after school each day, Clardy has also had to find costumes and props and help coordinate the set design.
"It's been fun, and it's exciting, and it's had its twists," he smiles.
One of the biggest challenges he refers to is his transition from being a performer to a director. Throughout the years he spent his time in the spotlight in a variety of local productions, such as "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," "The Bachelor King," "Robin Hood," and "Fiddler on the Roof."
After graduation, Clardy says he plans to study law and minor in theater, "so I can still give back to the community. I think the arts are just really important."
"Dress Rehearsal for Murder" will be showing at the Hilltop Auditorium Feb. 12 through Feb. 14 at 7 p.m., and Feb. 15 and 16 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.