Shuffling into perception, draped in a blood red silk robe, wanders renowned Hollywood actress, Ms. Betty Crawford. Before a single word is spoken, drama and sardonicism are firing on all cylinders in the Foothill drama department’s fall production of “Writing A Will Can Be Murder.”
Ms. Crawford, the talented diva turned cynical, aging daydreamer, portrayed by Eva Shumaker ‘18, perches on a leather couch, leisurely listening to “Mozart’s Dies Irae.” With the cavalier ringing of a bell, Ms. Crawford’s drearily loyal housekeeper Rose, played by Madeleine George ‘17, is summoned for a cup of tea. And thus ensues a series of events so endearingly outrageous, histrionic and peculiar that for their audience, the concept of boredom will become but a distant memory.
Elderly and frail, the billionaire Ms. Crawford becomes bombarded with a slew of characters from her past, returning to the present in attempts to gain a spot in her newly revised will. Through a series of amusing vignette-like flashbacks we learn the nature of these relationships – and that the inheritor of Crawford’s billions could be any and all of the people in question. Following the hilariously anticlimactic event of her murder, a wild hunt for the killer begins.
Appearing to simply belong on stage is Amazing Oakes ‘20, whose dramatic portrayal of a young and famous Betty Crawford seamlessly fluctuates from frenetic cruelness to benevolent giddiness. She stammers in rage, she groans in a childlike annoyance, and she does it all so passionately.
As one who watches the play will find out, Mildred and Candice Crawford, the arch-nemesis identical twin daughters of Betty Crawford, serve as much more than comedic relief. Annie Castaneda ‘18, who portrays both of the sisters, has a lively stage presence, and, endearingly destroying the fourth wall several times, connects strongly with the audience.
You can still see “Writing a Will Can be Murder” on November 9th and 10th at 6:30 p.m. in Spirito Hall. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.
In attendance of the play’s Nov. 3 matinee performance was Ventura High School student, Maria Palomino ‘18. After the performance she remarked “It was interesting, the plays are definitely different here.”
While Foothill’s quaint sets and stage may not be quite as elaborate as those in other Ventura Unified School District highs schools, the storytelling is just as poignant. “It was impressive!” Palomino said. “People are really dedicated to theater, it’s awesome.”
An entertaining fiasco filled with shocking twists and turns, seething accusations of motive and means and humorous mishaps and misunderstandings, “Writing A Will Can Be Murder” is a fabulous production. Never once lacking in wit and charm, the excitement of theater paired with the mystique of murder is a knockout combination in which nothing is too outrageous and nobody is innocent.