What happens when you combine a 1940s Brooklyn bed and breakfast, two homicidal sisters and a little bit of poison?
Well, you get a lot of laughs.
The uniquely hilarious combination will be featured when SJC Long Island’s Drama Society performs Joseph Kesselring’s “Arsenic and Old Lace” Thursday, April 26, through Sunday, April 29, at The Muriel and Virginia Pless Center for the Performing Arts.
“We put a lot of hard work and effort into this production,” said the two-year President of Drama Society Sally Mellina, a junior at SJC Long Island. “This play is also sometimes read in high school, so it’s a good play for college-aged students to see.”
Kesselring’s play revolves around two sweet women in their 60s, Abby and Martha Brewster, who run a small bed and breakfast in Brooklyn in the 1940s. They lure in older, lonely men and poison them, believing that they are doing these men a favor. Their nephew Teddy, who thinks he is Theodore Roosevelt, lives with them. Mortimer, Teddy’s brother and a theater critic, discovers the body of one of aunts’ victims. Abby and Martha’s other nephew, Jonathan, shows up after years of fleeing police for murders he’s committed.
Made up of students looking to pursue a career in acting and students who just like acting for fun, SJC’s student-run club puts on two productions a year. They chose this dark comedy as a way to help others unwind at the end of the spring semester.
And this performance will help you do just that. With nine students, the club’s intimate size helps the cast as they bond together both onstage and off.
“My favorite part about this club is how close I feel with all the cast members,” Chris Ryder, a junior majoring in child study, said. “It really is like a family. It’s an amazing atmosphere to feel that family connection while working throughout the semester, then doing the show together and going out to the cast parties after. It’s just a really great experience.”
Geena Moore, who has been a member of the Drama Society for seven semesters and will graduate this May, also commented on the tight-knit feel of the society.
“I love the bond that I experience with the cast members,” she said. “We spend so much time together, it’s like family basically, so I enjoy that every semester.”
This familial connection shows, as the cast’s believable performance of the Brewster family will be sure to illicit plenty of laughter from the audience.
The roles of Officer Brophy and Mr. Witherspoon are still open. Interested playing one of the characters? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Both men and women are welcome.
Tickets, Times and Place
Thursday through Saturday, April 26 – 28, the play begins at 7 p.m. On Sunday, April 29, the play starts at 2 p.m. All shows are inside The Muriel and Virginia Pless Center for the Performing Arts.
SJC students can purchase their tickets at the door for $5 (show your SJC ID), and non-students pay $8 at the door.
Why See the Play
All nine cast members shared why students should come see their performance of “Arsenic and Old Lace”:
“This is a very funny play. It has a dark-humor edge to it, which is really nice. Everyone has put a lot of hard work everyone into this play.”
— Ian Byrne ’19
“I’d tell students to come to this play because with school and stress and everything going on, this is a great way to let go, laugh and have a great time.”
— Maxim Braem ’20
“Come see theater brought to life. We’re really passionate about what we do, and we love performing. We dedicate a lot of hours to it — inside rehearsal and outside —and we really want to introduce students who maybe don’t know that much about the arts.” — Geena Moore ’18
“We put on great shows, and we have a good time the whole year, the whole semester through. It’s great.” — Tim Hanna ’19
“It’s a dark comedy, so anyone who likes a dark sense of humor or humor in general will enjoy it. Also, come pump up the drama society a little bit!” — Sally Mellina ’19
“I’d tell students to come for a good laugh — and to see what’s going on in the drama society and to help it to grow.” — Cecilia Young ’19
“We have a cast that will do a really good job at portraying the characters. The jokes and the comedy within the show are conveyed very well. It’s also a great opportunity for students to be exposed to a really well-written classic comedy.”
— Chris Ryder ’19
“We’ve worked very hard. Support the drama club and your classmates!” — Emily McClernon ’19
“It’s going to be ridiculously hilarious.” — David Pesce ’21