"There's a clue already out there, but the audience will just have to see it in person to find it," veteran theatre director Amy Crane said with a grin.
The Marquette Drama Department's latest installment is a brash new undertaking.
Crane will still occupy the role of producer. However, the cast and crew of "An Evening of One Acts" have heard a different voice - or two - during preparation for this fall's offering.
Caitie Gately and Zoe Olesker, enter stage left.
The two seniors are the first students to be sole directors of a Marquette production in Crane's 21-year run as theatre director.
Several times in the past, students have directed with the help of either Crane or another staff member. The training wheels come off next Friday at 7 pm in the Rudy Hart Theatre during Opening Night.
Gately and Olesker's previous work and superb results allowed Crane to hand over the keys with little pause.
"Caitie has managed several shows and I know she can handle it. Last year, Zoe joined her as an assistant, and it was like clockwork. They keep the others in line. Zoe wants to go into scriptwriting and with the experience she's had with her father - it was a natural fit," she remarked.
(Zoe's father, Jack, was co-developer of the wildly popular television show, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" and possesses an extensive resume of media experience.)
"An Evening of One Acts" weaves two stories into one.
"Whodunit?" features a bold cast of larger-than-life characters involved in a murder mystery. The audience will take note of some stereotypical characters: a butler (did he do it?), a wonderful, wacky announcer, Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes-type characters, and so on. There's plenty of humor in "Whodunit?" to be considered a blend of comedy and thriller.
"Who Am I This Time?" is best characterized as a play within a play, according to Crane. Bland, mundane individuals burst into life as they audition for roles in a small-town theatre production.
While the length of "An Evening of One Acts" is shorter than previous Drama Department shows, the quality has gone unaffected.
"It's all how much you put into it and these girls are putting just as much into it as I would," Crane mentioned.
In addition to Gately and Olesker, Crane praised the work of the cast.
"Michael Bim-Merle and Adam Pierzakowski are having a ball with it. You'll laugh until your sides hurt. Grace Murphy has been in every show since she's been here. This role was made for her. Natalia Ruiz and her costumes are fabulous. Wil Crane got double-casted in both shows after we lost a male actor and he's delivered. Freshman Paolo Castillo came in during script reads and we were blown away. He's phenomenal," Crane said, smiling.
Thanks to assistance from the Drama Department Parents Guild, the Rudy Hart Theatre will have a sharper look next week as professional headshots will adorn the lobby.
"They've taken the reins on so much and it's allowed me to focus more on the production side of things," Crane remarked.
Fans can hear from Gately and Olesker on Tuesday morning when the two visit the WEFM (95.9 FM) studio from 8:15 am - 8:30 am during the Community Focus segment of the show.
Opening night of "An Evening of One Acts" is Friday, November 15th at 7 pm with additional showings taking place on Saturday, November 16th at 7 pm and Sunday, November 17th at 2 pm. Tickets are $8 for adults; $4 for students and seniors.