Bishop Stang High School to debut ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ this weekend

Nov 13, 2019

The Bishop Stang Theatre Company will debut its fall production of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” which will feature plenty of oddball characters, serious situations, and murder. 

The play, written by Joseph Kesselring, centers on the Brewster family. It is filled with colorful characters who harbor secrets: Murderous aunts, a brother convinced he is sitting President, and a serial killer in the making. 

And, as Director Maurice Ouellette noted, has a wide appeal across generations. 

“This is a classic,” Ouellette said. “It first opened in the 1940s and has had all kinds of revivals.” 

The roles of the murderous aunts are played by senior Phoenix Carreiro and junior Ellen Scarano. They noted their characters have a unique twist that can be a challenge to play: They poison their male victims, but view their acts as good, not evil. 

“The balance between insanity, sinisterness, and sweetness is very difficult, because we have to be killing someone, but we have to make them feel comfortable while they’re being poisoned,” Scarano said. 

The other murderer of the show is Jonathan Brewster, a serial killer who escapes home to receive plastic surgery to hide from law enforcement. He is portrayed by Phillip Marcalo, who noted it is a challenge to portray a mean and evil character. 

“I’m normally a nice person, so it's hard to be mean… but all my anger from classes or anything, all my frustration I just put into that,” Marcalo said. 

Lily Saulnier is Dr. Einstein, who is performing the surgery. Dr. Einstein is an eccentric genius with a strong German accent. 

“I have a really fun role,” Saulnier said. “I’m playing a German alcoholic plastic surgeon.” 

Dartmouth's Caleb Hughes plays Mortimer Brewster, the head of the Brewster family who has to deal with the quirks — and criminality — of his family. 

“I’m the one put in the middle of this entire situation throughout this entire play,” Hughes said. “When I figure out they’ve killed someone, I’m the one dealing with knowing they’ve done that, how do I keep the police from knowing, how to I keep other people from knowing.” 

Hughes has to stay stressed out throughout the entire show, as he struggles to find solutions which inevitably do not go as planned.

“I do try to come up with solutions, but every time I make one it gets destroyed somehow by a new character, which is where the humor of my character is from,” Hughes said .

There are a few comic relief characters in the play, including Teddy, played by Xavier Markey. Teddy believes he is Theodore Roosevelt. 

“A lot of times I’ll be in my own head and not paying attention to what’s going on around me,” Markey said. 

Show times are November 15 and November 16 at 7 p.m. Shows are held at Bishop Stang High School, 500 Slocum Rd. 

General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. 

Call the school at (508) 996-5602 for more information.