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Performing Arts

Troupe 1096 stages classic whodunnit comedy

Durango High School Troupe 1096 is taking on a murder mystery comedy when they stage “Clue.” (Courtesy)
Durango High School actors putting on ‘Clue’

The student actors of Durango High School Troupe 1096 are getting ready to stage the classic whodunnit comedy “Clue,” which will open in the school’s auditorium Feb. 17.

Ben Mattson, theater director, said the troupe was up for a non-musical show, and because of the comedic talent of the students, “Clue” fit the bill.

“We have so many students that really understand the timing and nuance of comedy, and we are excited to showcase that with this show,” he said. “Last year, we did the heavy historical drama ‘Radium Girls,’ and while that show was an absolutely amazing to create, it’s been a breath of fresh air to play in this melodramatic and hilarious world.”

The play “Clue” is based on a film adaptation of the classic Hasbro board game. In the 1985 movie directed by Jonathan Lynn, the story begins at a dinner party hosted by Mr. Boddy, where he admits to blackmailing his visitors. These guests, who have been given aliases, are Mrs. Peacock, Miss Scarlet, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, Mrs. White and Col. Mustard. When Boddy turns up murdered, all are suspects, and together they try to figure out who is the killer.

If you go

What: Durango High School Troupe 1096 presents “Clue,” based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, written by Sandy Rustin.

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 17, 18, 23 and 24; 2 p.m. Feb. 25.

Where: Durango High School auditorium, 2390 Main Ave.

Tickets: $15, available online at https://bit.ly/3HK64aY.

More Information: Visit troupe1096.weebly.com.

Mattson said the stage adaptation of”Clue” sticks pretty closely to the film, but because it’s performed on stage, “it includes a lot of melodramatic elements. Jenny Fitts Reynolds has been my co-director since last year, and with her background in directing melodrama, we thought this would be the perfect choice to bring to the community,” he said, adding that the troupe has worked hard to make the show their own and not just re-create the movie on stage.

“Neither Jenny or I (or the cast) have watched the movie specifically in preparation for this production. It is an old favorite of mine, and the characterizations of the guests are iconic. Still, we didn’t want to get trapped in re-creating the work of others, so we tried to go into this process without carrying the movie with us,” he said. “With that being said, there are some moments that are so iconic from the 1985 film that we just had to re-create them. I think fans of the movie will be excited to see where we have our own take, and where we try to stay true to the film.”

A note: Mattson said that for those who don’t know the story, it is a fairly rated PG show.

“I just want to put in a little disclaimer. If you are unfamiliar with ‘Clue’, it is a murder mystery focusing on six guests with various torrid and scandalous careers and pasts. It’s all presented in a stylized and comedic way, but there is some mature content,” he said. “The film was rated PG, and I feel the stage adaptation is pretty similar.”

And while the audience is in for a fun night, the cast and crew are equally having fun during the production, Mattson said.

Everyone’s a suspect in Durango High School Troupe 1096’s production of “Clue.” (Courtesy)

“It’s been an absolute blast to put together. The students are committed 110%, and we all leave the theater with smiles and sore bellies from laughing all rehearsal. The script is relatively short and fast, so it just flies by and is a joy to watch. We also have live music underscoring the entire production played by sophomore Jack Preston, which adds to the wonderful melodramatic style of the show,” he said. “As we reach the home stretch, both Jenny and I are floored by the creativity of our students bringing all of the tech elements together. These kids are so talented, and they really run the show. We couldn’t be more proud, or be having more fun!”

After “Clue,” the Troupe will begin working on its next show, “Little Shop of Horrors,” which will hit the stage in late April and run through the first week of May, Mattson said.

“Keep a lookout for this one, it’s literally out-of-this-world!” he said.