Arsenic & Old Lace

Have you ever had an entire section of your life that just went missing? Well this is mine. Not missing, exactly; just very fuzzy. I was cast here as Jonathan Brewster, the evil brother of nice guy Mortimer. Now, if you're familiar with the original Broadway play you may know that this part was played by Boris Karloff. It's actually written into the play that Dr. Einstein (no, not that one!) performed plastic surgery on Jonathan to make him look like Karloff. So generally the part calls for someone tall, imposing, and menacing. In other words, at five-foot-eight, I was horribly miscast. Between you and me I'd have loved to play Teddy. That's OK, we make do.

As always, the rest of the casting was excellent; especially Tim Hill as the quirky plastic surgeon, "Dr. Einstein". In the movie this was played by Peter Lorre, to whom Tim has a passing resemblence when he tries. In any case, he had the character down.

Arsenic & Old Lace was performed as a dinner theatre production which played at the RAF Croughton All-Ranks Club, and again at the RAF Croughton High School. My most outstanding recollection was having to improvise a two-minute soliloquy because "Mortimer" had missed a cue. I'm quite sure it wasn't two minutes, but time does lag when you're up there alone. Otherwise, Jai's timing was perfect, I must say. The look on his face when, bound and gagged, he watched as "Mortimer" pulls out the surgical kit was simply priceless (where did Tim find a knife that big, anyway?) This is one of my favorite plays, and I'm happy to have been involved with this production.

Cast of Characters

Abbey Brewster: Deston Lee
Reverend Dr. Harper: Thomas Mendonca
Teddy Brewster: Bill Lee
Officer Brophy: Yvette Jameison
Officer Klein: Dan Wieck
Martha Brewster: Janice Gerdes
Elaine Harper: Laurie Ayers
Mortimer Brewster: Jai McNally
Jonathan Brewster: David Leigh
Dr. Einstein: Tim Hill (later, Chuck Tipton)
Mrs. Gibbs: Jeanette Young
Officer O'Hara: Terry Hauser
Lt. Rooney: Thomas Mendonca
Miss Witherspoon: Zandra Wiegman

Production Crew

Director/Producer: William J. Lee
Costumes: Zandra Wiegman
Publicist: Deston Lee
Programs: Yvette Jameison
Clifton DeVore