SKITS puts on play ‘Murder’s in the Heir’

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
The cast for SKITS’ upcoming play includes, front row, from left: Deb Waterman, Paula Harris, Cliff Przybyl, Jane Willis and Shari Smith. Back row: Janel Riley, JJ Hight, Kathy Patterson, Don Herbert, Sue Ramonette, Rev. Bill Kenagy, Craig Burford, Beth Harp, Karin Stanley and Renae Neill. Contributed photo

Detective skills to come in handy for this whodunit play

Shell Knob in the Spotlight (SKITS) has selected its cast and is preparing for its fall play, “Murder’s in the Heir.”

The play will be Nov. 9 and 10 at 6:30 p.m., and Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. at Central Community United Methodist Church in Shell Knob.

Barb Van Dusen, president of SKITS said the fun comedy includes audience participation, so people should come prepared to laugh.

SKITS started in 2005, and has performed 11 plays over the years. The organization is a non-profit community theater troupe.

Van Dusen said SKITS has attracted people who are interested in performing, as well as people that help with sets, props and sponsors for the group.

“It’s just amazing how much we have grown,” Van Dusen said. “I remember five years ago having an audition call and no one showed up, and now, we have more people auditioning than we even have spots for. We take in anyone, including people that have absolutely no experience, people who are retired and want something to do and people who never thought that they would ever be up on a stage.”

Van Dusen said they are blessed to have their relationship with United Methodist Church. The church allows SKITS to store sets, props and costumes in their attic.

“We couldn’t operate without them,” Van Dusen said. “We have our own set design, microphones and lights. People walk in and are impressed with our set up.”

Van Dusen said SKITS attracts more than 300 people during the three-day event.

“We try to keep the price low at $9, and children 12-and-under are free, so most everyone can come and enjoy it,” Van Dusen said. “We provide arts in community theater for the area.”

Van Dusen said the United Methodist League of Women provide snacks for $1 apiece, and those funds go to their projects.

Van Dusen said the $9 per ticket doesn’t even cover the expenses, and that is why SKITS needs its sponsors and grants.

“We do two plays a year, one in the spring and one in the fall,” Van Dusen said. “It’s very aggressive to put on two plays a year.”

Van Dusen said SKITS has discovered people really want to come and laugh, and SKITS really enjoys trying to make everyone laugh.

The productions can also become a family affair.

“One time, we had a family that had three generations involved in the play,” Van Dusen said.

Van Dusen said in the upcoming play, the audience will decide who the killer is at intermission, then the performers act out the appropriate ending determined by votes.

“The crew is a little nervous about it because they have to know so many endings,” Van Dusen said. “I’ve noticed some of the cast members are like, ‘Oh, I hope they pick me,’ and I say, ‘Well, are you suspicious enough?’”

“This group of actors have been fun to work with,” said Director Don Herbert. “It includes 18 cast members, as well as the production crew.”

Van Dusen said she feels like people should experience the genre as soon as they walk into the church, so she decorates the hallways to give the community a real feel for the play.

“Reverend Bill Kenagy, with Central Community United Methodist Church, in Shell Knob is usually cast in the play, and he is just a natural actor,” Van Dusen said. “This church really likes to be community-built, and community-minded. They are so kind to let us use their facility for the play and for the storage.”

Van Dusen said the play will last about two hours.

Tickets are $9 and can be obtained in Shell Knob at Arvest Bank, Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri, Jug-n-Plug and the Chamber of Commerce. Anyone not in Shell Knob may obtain tickets for “will call” pickup by calling Barb Van Dusen at 417-858-9590 or texting a date request and number of tickets to 417-665-9763.

Seats can be reserved for handicapped and groups of 10 or more.

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