News Column

Mystery play aims to keep audiences guessing until end

September 2, 2014

By Stephanie Turner, Aiken Standard, S.C.

Sept. 02--On this cold, winter morning, Elaine Wheeler couldn't sleep.

Cigarette in hand, she saunters up to the living room window. She peeks out across the way.

A horrifying sight catches her eye. She drops her cigarette. A chilling scream bursts from her lungs.

For, across the way, there sits a man. His eyes are open, but he's frozen still.

Elaine calls the police to investigate. They come but find nothing there.

This tale of mystery and suspense will soon unfold when the Edgefield Theatre Company puts on its next production "Night Watch."

Directed by Dave Engelman, "Night Watch" will run Sept. 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and Sept. 14 and 21 at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $18 for general admission and $25 for seating in the theater's alcove.

Written by Lucille Fletcher, "Night Watch" is designed to keep its audiences guessing until the very last second.

"With mysteries, you have to be careful you don't give away the plot," Engelman said. "But this is so well written ... you probably won't be able to predict the ending."

Engelman has been active in theater for more than 40 years. He has directed plays in Ethiopia and Japan.

"Night Watch" is the second show Engelman has directed at the Edgefield Theatre; however, this is not his first time involved with this story.

"I've always really enjoyed this show," he said. "The Aiken Community Playhouse did it (around) four years ago."

In the Playhouse production, Engelman played Curtis Appleby -- the very curious neighbor.

Taking on this role in Engelman's production is Cleo Lamkin.

Lamkin, in his long-standing theater career, has been in such Edgefield shows such as "Second Samuel" and "The Devil in Petticoats."

"Mr. Appleby is an oddity. He's eccentric (and) interesting," Lamkin said. "He knows what's going on."

As Appleby pokes around, so does homicide detective Lt. Walker, played by Sam Crouch.

Crouch has been with the theater since its start.

"It was new and different. There never had been a theater company in Edgefield before (since I've lived here), and I thought, 'What the heck, I'll give it a try,'" Crouch said. "It's been fun."

Walker is Crouch's first serious role.

"Night Watch" is Teresa McWilliams' first Edgefield play.

Her role is the central role of Elaine Wheeler.

"It's been a fun part," she said. "I like this theater because it's smaller. You can do a lot of nuisances with your character that, when in a really large space, wouldn't project very well to the back row."

The cast list also includes John Fowler as John Wheeler; Ali McCormack as Blanche Cooke; Helene Fitch as Helga; Mitchell Bland as Vanelli; Bob Fitch as Dr. Tracy Lake and Jonathan Thomas as Sam Hoke.

Assistant directing is Tony Baughman.

Baughman and Engelman will man the lights and sound during the show's run.

Fitch oversaw props, while Engelman designed the set.

"I hope at the very end -- at the very last scene, everyone's mouths are on the floor," Engelman said.

Edgefield Theatre Company is in the Edgefield's Discovery Center, 405 Main St.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 803-637-3833 or visit

Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta State University in 2012. She then signed on with the Aiken Standard, where she is now the arts and entertainment reporter.


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Source: Aiken Standard (SC)

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