A Murder in the Manor: WHS Theatre’s Fall Play

Theater students at Wilton High School are excitedly preparing 2023’s Fall production, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, an Agatha Christie mystery.
Theater students at Wilton High School are excitedly preparing 2023’s Fall production, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, an Agatha Christie mystery.
WHS Theatre

What is more fitting in spooky season than a murder-at-the-manor mystery? This year, Wilton High School Theatre is embracing time of year with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Based on an Agatha Christie novel, the play is a humorous combination of And Then There Were None and Knives Out—every servant at the late Roger Ackroyd’s estate has a secret, but whodunnit?

Auditions for the play took place on Tuesday, September 5, and the first rehearsals commenced September 7. Along with rehearsing lines, cast members are undergoing dialect coaching for Received Pronunciation, the most common British accent, to keep alive the Agatha Christie spirit. Poirot, of course, who is played by senior Illeas Paschalidis, will speak in a French accent.

Above is the cast list for the play. Many roles are double cast to allow for more participation in the production. (Saniya Shah)

Sarah Bennett, a senior cast as Caroline Sheppard said, “We had our table read, so that was really fun. It was so fun to see how everybody has presented their characters so far without even really having to dive deep into them yet. It just went so well on the first day, and I think there is so much to build on from that. There’s definitely high expectations.”

Like last year’s fall play, Roger Ackroyd is double-cast, so a different set of students will appear on different nights during performance week. This gives more students the opportunity to perform—and offers the audience two unique takes on the show. Though some characters—such as famed detective Poirot—are not double-cast, others, such as John/Jane Parker are the same character gender-swapped (to be played by a boy one night and a girl the other).

Paschalidis said, “I am really looking forward to vibes at rehearsals and spending this last year with my cast. I think we’ve been at it for four years, and this is our final year.”

Paschalidis, like many other seniors, is a prominent member of the theater community who has participated in productions since his freshman year. “This is also our first time doing a drama, so that’s exciting,” he continued. “There’s a lot to look forward to this year especially with a new era of theater moving in, with new people, like the freshman and sophomores who are really moving up in theater. It’s really cool.”

Though Paschalidis is looking forward to his last fall play, senior Thomas Fletcher, who has also participated in all previous productions during his time at Wilton High School, whether as crew or an actor, chose not to participate, citing college application stress. “I’m [still] doing everything else theater-related this year, minus this one show,” he said. “It’s not as if I’m dropping theater, I just happen to be redirecting how I’m doing it this year.”

Students involved in theater are very dedicated to the activity; even if Fletcher is not acting in the play, he plans to contribute to the set or help with the crew.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is set to debut at the Little Theater on November 9. Tickets will become available closer to show night, so keep an eye on your inbox in October. Don’t miss out on watching WHS Theatre’s cast and crew solve the mystery!

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About the Contributor
Saniya Shah, Editor-in-Chief
Saniya Shah is a senior at Wilton High School and a Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Forum. She wrote a fiction book called On Touching Stars and spends every free minute writing something, from poetry to short stories to news articles. She's a morning person, likes tea, and is making good on her goal to read more.

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