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Old classic gets all dressed up

'Arsenic and Old Lace' comes to Dahlonega's Holly Theatre

POSTED: January 27, 2011 12:30 a.m.

Another classic hits historic Holly Theatre's stage tonight, offering audiences an unusual take on love, marriage and, of course, murder.

Directed by John Marino, "Arsenic and Old Lace" should make its audience laugh, cry and raise a few eyebrows.

"The story revolves around Mortimer Brewster, a newspaperman and author known for his diatribes against marriage," said Geoffrey Kridel, the executive director of the Holly Theatre. "In the opening scene, we watch him being married at city hall. After getting married, all that is required is a quick trip home to tell his two maiden aunts."

A married man who writes against marriage is not the only bizarre aspect of the play.

"While trying to break the news, Mortimer finds out his aunts' hobby: killing lonely old men and burying them in the cellar," Kridel said. "It gets worse."

"It's quite good," Kridel said. "I think it is not only a great performance, but it also has some new, talented, players in it making their stage debut."

Though a dark comedy, the characters of "Arsenic and Old Lace" induce laughter through characters like an alcoholic surgeon, two murderous spinsters and Mortimer, the walking oxymoron.

"We have a great mixture of talent, with some more seasoned than others. The proof is in the production," Kridel said. "I just love the two aunts and their interaction with Mortimer; it will be great fun for all those who attend."

Though the play is Marino's second at the Holly, it is one of hundreds performed there.

"Marino began his performing career as a vocalist in night clubs around the U.S. and Canada. During the 80s and 90s, he staged and directed church musical productions. He is also sits on the board of directors of the Holly Theater," said Kridel.

In order to make pricing better for every audience member, prices are no longer $18-$20. There is a set ticket price of $15 now.

"The Holly started in 1946 and took the community's heart. In more recent times, we have realized that community theater requires the involvement of the community and that is what we strive," Kridel said. "We use local actors, directors, set builders as well as locals for ticket-taking and concessions."

"Arsenic and Old Lace" opens tonight and runs every weekend until Feb. 13.

"The Holly is just one of the crown jewels in Dahlonega's artistic community," Kridel said. "This is a classic play that remains fresh and fun."



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