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'Arsenic and Old Lace' opens Friday night at HHS

Did you hear about the two old maid sisters who buried visitors in their basement?

It might not sound like a comic plot but there are plenty of laughs in the Hudson High School production of "Arsenic and Old Lace," which opens tomorrow night.

The play is the story of Abbey and Martha Brewster who have a habit of serving lethal tea to visitors, their brother Teddy, who believes he's Teddy Roosevelt, and their nephew Mortimer who fears his tainted gene pool when his psychotic brother re-appears. It is worth the price of a ticket just to see how it all works out.

Sister Abbey, age 70 plus, is played by junior Katy Norris. She likes the charm and sweetness of her character and that of her sister Martha played by freshman Amanda Pfeffer, but she also likes Abbey's authoritative nature. She modeled her character's mannerisms and speech after her own grandmother, Esther Norris. "I'd like to be like my grandmother and Abbey when I get older."

Pfeffer said acting like an old lady every minute she is onstage has been a challenge.

"It's not just when you are speaking. You have to listen like she would and use your hands, walk, react like she would. And keep it slow. For me that takes concentration."

The 14-member cast along with numerous others in the crew come from all the HHS classes. Both Pfeffer and Norris say that has been part of the fun of the experience. "I have gotten to know people from other classes and groups that I wouldn't have met otherwise and we've become friends," said Norris. Pfeffer agrees. "It has been good working with upper classmen. They tease us a little but it is a really good bunch of people and we have had a lot of fun together."

Both girls have acted before and would like to appear on stage again. Norris would like to study opera and sing and teach music. Pfeffer thinks being an actress "would be the coolest." Their experience playing senior citizens has made them eager to do more acting. Pfeffer is the daughter of Bonnie Pfeffer and Chuck Kravik. Norris is the daughter of Kevin and Barb Norris.

"Arsenic and Old Lace" will be presented Friday and Saturday nights, April 1-2 and April 8-9, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and are on sale at the school box office weekdays 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and after school until 5 p.m. Tickets are also available at the door. For more information call HHS at (715) 386-4226.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604