A Family Reunion to Die For


Ali RIchardson, Reporter

On Friday, February 17, and Saturday, February 18,2023, the Southeast of Saline high school drama club performed A Family Reunion to Die For under the direction of Mr. Anderson.
The play is set at the Wilcox Western Bed and Breakfast in the Virgin Islands, and follows the story of Christine Franklin (Addison Gottschalk), the niece of Gretchen Wilcox (Isabelle Christensen) who is the owner of the Wilcox Western Bed and Breakfast, and Christine’s husband, Freddie (Matthew Reden), a want to be detective.
Christine and Freddie, who were just married, decide to have their honeymoon at Christine’s family’s inn in order to see Christine’s cousins, Rachel Shanklin (Sherida Johnson) and her husband Robert Shanklin (Micha Willis), who are both anthropologists, and Stefan Livingston (Mack Johnson) and his wife Suzanne Livingston (Madison Garrison) both of whom are big time actors.
On the first night that the cousins check into the inn, Gretchen, the aunt of Christine, Rachel, and Stefan, is murdered. With a huge tropical storm prohibiting anyone from arriving or exiting the inn, the only suspects are the current guests: the cook, Beatrice Googleheimer (Kipra Reed) who has worked for Gretchen for years and knows how two sided Gretchen is, Connie Carlson (Kennedy Stumpf), the newly hired maid who hasn’t been employed long but has already experienced Gretchen’s cruelty, brother and sister hunting duo Randy Mo (Austin Hanson) and Carla Jo (Haley Thiel), who are bitter after having their gun locked up in the inn’s safe, Lola Matthews (Mara Mondt), a regular guest at the inn who activates for animal rights and is frustrated with having to room next to the hunters, Joel March (Asher Swank), the inn critic who has had nothing but complaints since the moment he arrived, The Midnight Crusader (Alex Christensen), the first time guest who disguises himself as comic book characters, the mime troupe consisting of Nell Camp (Hannah Blevins), Matilda (Faith Swank), Molly (Annika Potter), and Minnie (Madeleine Baier), and Gretchen’s nieces or nephew, possibly seeking revenge.
Freddie, with a little nudging from Christine, decides that this murder is a perfect chance for him to solve the case and become a detective, but he has no idea what he is doing. Freddie, needing all the help he can get, receives tips from the ghost of Gretchen who is content on finding her murderer. With help from Gretchen, Freddie finds a strange poem written in orange ink at the scene of the crime. Upon finding this, Freddie insists on everyone going back to their rooms until the murderer is found.
Meanwhile, with tensions high and Freddie and Christine scrambling for clues, Rachel is shot. With some more help from Gretchen, and now the ghost of Rachel, Freddie discovers another poem in the same orange ink, and a secret room hidden behind the wall where the murderer would have had to have been to shoot Rachel. In the room Freddie also finds Connie, the maid, with Stefan. Although Connie and Stefan plead innocent, the guests are frantic and accusations are flying everywhere leading to more questions than answers. Could it have been either Connie or Stefan who were in the secret room? Was it Randy Mo or Carla Jo given that the murder weapon was a gun? Now that two of the Wilcox family members have been killed, is Stefan or Christine next?
To avoid more arguing, the guests are sent back to their rooms by Freddie, who is desperately trying to find clues before another murder occurs. Upon going back to her room, Nell discovers that her laptop has gone missing. While Freddie is trying to figure out what to do about the laptop, the lights go out and another murder is committed. Stefan is found electrocuted in his bathtub by Nell’s missing laptop, along with a third poem written in the same orange ink. This murder raises even more questions. Who turned the power out? Could Nell have murdered Stefan with her laptop? Could it have been Suzanne, angry with her husband for cheating on her?
With Freddie not having any luck finding clues and realizing that the deaths have all been members of the Wilcox family, Christine sets herself up as bait in order to catch the murderer in action. While waiting alone in the lobby, Christine is met by Joel, the critic, and she discovers that he has been carrying an axe with him. With all of the screaming and commotion, everyone gathers in the lobby which turns into yet another blame game.
While accusations are being thrown around, Freddie finally figures out who the murderer is. He asks the mimes to demonstrate all the murders in order and catches Molly showing her plan for the next murder along with orange ink on her gloves. Molly confesses and reveals that she is another one of Gretchen’s nieces who has been left out of the family for years and was seeking revenge. The Midnight Crusader, now disguised as Princess Gumdrop, knocks Molly out so they can take her to the police after the storm is concluded.
Overall, the hours of hard work and dedication that went into the Production of A Family Reunion to Die For were well worth it and the play came together nicely.