ACTORS confess to ‘A Murder is Announced’


Courtesy of Jason Paull

Mrs. Blacklock tries to convince Mitzi no one is going to kill her.

Haley Brase

Trembling with fear, not knowing who will be next, everyone thought it was a game until they heard the first gun shot.

The local newspaper prints a warning that there will be a murder announced that night, but no one expected a murder to happen because it was stated in the newspaper.

“A Murder is Announced” will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, April 10 and 11 and at 2:00 p.m. April 12 at Ames Community Theater.

“The setting of the play is a boarding house in a small English town, and one day the town is interrupted as an ad comes out in the newspaper saying a murder is going to take place at the boarding house that day, that evening,” said Dana Korneisel, senior in geology and biology.

“Everybody in town, who apparently has free time, rushes over to the house because they think it’s some kind of game or some variety of party that’s going to happen. Everyone is super curious and shows up, which of course makes it really hard to figure out what happened when somebody dies.”

The play is adapted from the novel written by Agatha Christie. In her lifetime, Agatha Christie wrote 82 detective novels, an autobiography, six romance novels and 19 plays.

“One of the joys of an Agatha Christie murder mystery is trying to follow the clues and figure it out, and if you really follow carefully, you can,” said director Ruthellen Cunnally, English lecturer at Iowa State. “It’s not always easy to figure it out, but when you get to the end and you do it’s like, ‘Oh my God, yeah, how did I not see that?’”

Each character in the play expresses humorous feelings toward the murder.

Sophie Bass plays Mitzi who is paranoid that people from her country are going to try to kill her that night. Her accent and snarky comments will provide reason to chuckle during her obnoxious outbursts.

Korneisel, who plays Julia Simmons, is not scared for her own life like Mitzi. Julia and her brother, Patrick Simmons, played by Ben Smith, playfully joke about the murder to each other.

“[I play] Julia Simmons … or is it? You’ll never know with this play,” Korneisel said.

Together there are 12 people cast in the play, but no one will expect who the murderer really is.

“They [the audience] should look forward to being surprised because I think there’s some twists they won’t expect,” Cunnally said.

Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased at the door or at Gallery 319 in downtown Ames.