A mur­der mys­tery

Ac­tors Guild of Schuylkill County presents orig­i­nal play by lo­cal writ­ers

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - Front Page - BY ERIC PEDDIGREE Con­tact the writer: epeddi-gree@re­pub­li­can­her­ald.com; 570- 628- 6003

The Ac­tors Guild of Schuylkill County is host­ing a party this week­end, but not ev­ery­one is leav­ing alive.

“It was the But­ler in the Li­brary with the Can­dle­sticks” will be held at 7 p. m. to­day and Satur­day and 2 p. m. Sun­day at the Theatre at Si­mon Kramer, 15 Al­liance St., New Philadel­phia. Tick­ets are $ 15 and avail­able through www.agosc.org, by call­ing 570- 617- 2720 or at the door, cash only.

“It was the But­ler in the Li­brary with the Can­dle­sticks” is an orig­i­nal mys­tery/ com­edy writ­ten by An­thony Kur­dilla and Loretta A. Mur­phy. The story takes place in 1924 at a birth­day cel­e­bra­tion for el­derly ma­tri­arch Lady Bal­four at her home of High­cliff Manor in Corn­wall. The night takes a dark turn when she is killed. As the­week­end con­tin­ues, more of the guests are mur­dered. En­ter a young bar­ris­ter, his witty colum­nist wife and a buf­foon­ish Scot­land Yard in­spec­tor to solve the case.

Kur­dilla, 22, of Frackville, said he is ex­cited to see his work come to life on stage.

“To see how far we have come and to see howit is brought to life is re­ally ex­hil­a­rat­ing,” Kur­dilla said.

Kur­dilla orig­i­nally wrote it as a 30- page screen­play. It was sug­gested to him by guild mem­ber Amy Mills to de­velop the work into a full play. Hewent to Mur­phy for help and even­tu­ally tabbed her as co- writer.

“She has been as much a part of this as I have,” Kur­dilla said.

He said he drew in­spi­ra­tion from Sher­lock Holmes, Agatha Christie and the Old Dark House films such as “The Cat and the Ca­nary.”

Kur­dilla will also help bring his vi­sion to life by serv­ing as di­rec­tor, his first time in this role. Be­ing an ac­tor for seven years, he knew many of the peo­ple in the pro­duc­tion. There are 17 peo­ple in the cast, in­clud­ing To­nia Vi­nan­sky as Lady Vi­o­let Bal­four, Zane Bechert as In­spec­tor Clay­ton, Paul Noon as Colonel Humphrey, Mark Ben­ny­hoff as Back­wood and Bar­bara Fuedale as Mrs. Drake.

He also gained a new­found re­spect for the pro­duc­tion team.

“One thing I re­ally learned as di­rec­tor is the back­stage play­ers are very im­por­tant,” Kur­dilla said, adding they are the ones who give the play its look.

Go­ing for­ward, Kur­dilla said hewould like to see the play be picked up by other groups. How­ever, his fo­cus is on thisweek­end and pre­sent­ing his and Mur­phy’s work.

“Iwould like to see other the­ater groups tackle it. I’m very con­tent with what Loretta and I have ac­com­plished,” he said.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit the guild’s web­site or Face­book page.

DAVID MCKEOWN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Saman­tha Si­matos, left, por­trays Betty Hall, and Nate Heater, por­trays Harry Hall, in the Ac­tors Guild of Schuylkill County’s pro­duc­tion of “It Was the But­ler in the Li­brary with the Can­dle­sticks.” The show will be pre­sented at 7 p.m. to­day and Satur­day and 2 p.m. Sun­day at the Theatre at Si­mon Kramer In­sti­tute, New Philadel­phia.

DAVID MCKEOWN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Sharon An­gelo will take on the role of Miss Vi­vian We­ston in the play.

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