Arts & Entertainment

'The Butler Did It' ... with the knife, in the kitchen

An eccentric society dowager with a penchant for sleuthing is at the heart of a story being presented by Kamiakin High School's drama department Jan. 15-16.

Miss Maple, played by junior Amanda White, is an English dowager who invites a group of detective story writers to visit her Ravenswood estate on Turkey Island.

Her intent is to have some investigating fun by having each writer portray the fictional protagonist in their books to solve a simulated mystery.

Her guests include an nettlesome Asian writer, a seedy gumshoe, a scholarly clergyman, a sophisticated New York couple and an intellectual with bizarre Sherlock Holmes tendencies.

But trouble abounds when the re-enactment ends up with an actual murder in the creepy old mansion.

This is White's first attempt at drama and so far she's having the time of her life. The experience also is teaching her about the family atmosphere so prevalent in drama circles.

"I was really psyched to get the part (of Miss Maple) considering it's my first play and I ended up with a major part," White said.

As a rookie thespian, she recruited some help in preparing for her role in The Butler Did It from her parents, Katie and Mike White of Kennewick.

"I got my mom and dad to help me with the memorization," she said. "It was really entertaining having the two of them play the 11 other parts using different voices and everything. And it was cool to hear my mom's stories about when she was in drama."

White's co-star, senior Chris Kelly, said he studied private eye characters as he prepared to tackle his role as Chandler Marlowe.

He's always had fun improvising as a '20s-style private eye, so he jumped at the opportunity to perform in a play that fits that era, Kelly said.

"I caught onto the mannerisms quickly, and I am thoroughly enjoying my part in this play," he said. "I very much encourage people to come see The Butler Did It because I am amazed by how well all the actors have grasped their parts."

Other student actors tackling roles in the murder mystery include Katy Bentz as Charity Hayes, Marlowe's former squeeze; Nate Petersen as Louie Fan, the obnoxious Asian writer; and Travis Franks as the intellectual Holmes-loving Peter Flimsy.

Also appearing in the play will be freshman newcomers to drama Dion Warren as Father White and Christian Wutzke as Rick Carlyle.

◗ Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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