Cecil Whig - - LOCAL -

sus­pense in a more re­fined fash­ion — by way of a five­act play writ­ten by area play­wright Michael Collins.

The first stop is the band­stand down­town, where Krauss and Elk­ton-based ac­tor Bob Smith set the stage for the rest of the per­for­mance with a scene about a seem­ingly petty con­flict in small-town gov­ern­ment. Dur­ing a re­hearsal with di­rec­tor Karen Long on Wed­nes­day (the cast, Long and Collins have re­hearsed each scene through­out the week), the three worked out all the things you might ex­pect of a play at a com­mu­nity theater. In a way, that’s what this is.

Long, who’s di­rected the ghost walk for nine years now, had the ac­tors work on tim­ing and place­ment, as well as main­tain­ing an all-im­por­tant high en­ergy level. Be­cause each act is crafted to leave just a few spare min­utes be­tween tour groups, the ac­tors have to speak at a fast pace and keep pauses to a min­i­mum. This act was run­ning about 12-and-a-half min­utes — not bad, but not a lot of wig­gle room.

As di­rec­tors of­ten do, Long had to find a bal­ance be­tween friend and boss.

“I thought you wanted me to adopt a Rus­sian ac­cent,” Smith joked to her be­tween run-throughs on Wed­nes­day.

“That was a dream you had, Bob,” she said.

“I’m just try­ing to keep the en­ergy up.”

“Be­hind your bush, Bob.” (Smith’s char­ac­ter walks out from be­hind a bush to start.)

Ac­cord­ing to Collins, scene two fea­tures a song and dance; scene three fea­tures Elvis Pres­ley; scene four fea­tures a set de­signer; and scene five fea­tures “a cli­max,” though he wouldn’t tell specifics.

Al­legedly, it ends with a witch.

”The First An­nual Ch­e­sa­peake City Hal­loween Porch Dec­o­rat­ing & Light String­ing Ex­trav­a­ganza & Com­pe­ti­tion” will run ev­ery 15 min­utes Fri­day and Satur­day from 6 to 9 p.m. In ad­vance, adults cost $10, chil­dren $5. At the door, adults cost $12, chil­dren $8. Call 410-885-2415.

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