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Winchester Little Theatre Play spins web of comedy

"Said the Spider to the Spy"
From left, Steve Nichols, as Byron Peters, Arrianna Nichols Loose, as Ida Gormley, and Rhonda Morris, as Augusta Waycross, rehearse a scene for Winchester Little Theatre's production of "Said the Spider to the Spy." The play opens May 7. Dennis Grundman/Daily (Buy photo)

Jennifer Crane-Oliver dances
Jennifer Crane-Oliver, right, as Adele Addison, dances for Jeff Schwartz, as Dexter Addison, during a rehearsal for the play. Dennis Grundman/Daily (Buy photo)

Robert Allen and Ellen Nichols
Robert Allen, as "Man", and Ellen Nichols, as Ruth St. Martin, try and figure out Allen's identity in the Winchester Litltle Theater production of "Said the Spider to the Spy". Dennis Grundman/Daily (Buy photo)

Paul Bailey and Meagan Haynes argue
Paul Bailey, as Manny, and Meagan Haynes, as Julia, argue as a couple in "Said the Spider to the Spy". A Winchester Little Theater production. Dennis Grundman/Daily (Buy photo)

Laetitia Clayton - lclayton@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Drug shipments gone bad, characters pretending to be someone they aren't and a plot veiled in mystery might not sound like a comedy. But Winchester Little Theatre Director Barbara Swink assures that it is.

"It's a mystery farce," she says of the theater's latest production, "Said the Spider to the Spy," which opens May 7. "There's a lot of craziness that happens."

The play, written by Fred Carmichael, is set in 1986 "at the height of drug trafficking in South Florida from Colombia," Swink says. "So that's really what this play deals with, is a drug shipment. But it's not heavy."

The plot centers around a character named Augusta Waycross, a librarian from New York City who vacations at the Florida beach home of a friend -- a romance novel writer named Adele Addison, played by Jennifer Crane-Oliver. The beach house is a vacation place for Addison, and she tells Waycross nobody will be there.

Waycross, played by Rhonda Morris, pretends to be the author while she is staying at the house, enjoying a lifestyle much different from her own. She drives expensive cars, wears fancy clothes and goes to parties, Swink says, "because she has no excitement in her life, and she thinks that might add some."

Eventually Waycross gets bored and takes in a young woman she meets on the beach. The woman is Ida Gormley, played by Arrianna Nichols Loose, and she calls herself a beach bum. She is staying at the house with Waycross when a narcotics agent pays a visit. He tells the women that there are drugs hidden in the house and that a drug cartel, which thought the house would be empty, has arranged to pick up the drugs there. The women don't believe him, of course, Swink says, and they drug the detective.

The two also put out a bed-and-breakfast sign so they can meet other people, and eventually eight of the nine characters in the play are staying at the house at one time.

"Some of the men are pretending to be Adele's husband," Swink says. "Everybody is pretending to be somebody else."

Addison and her husband eventually show up as well, and wonder what all the strangers are doing at their vacation home.

When the drugs are finally found, someone steals them and then "there's a chase scene," Swink says. "There are some colorful characters that they think are the kingpin and his wife."

But even if the plot sounds like it could be confusing for an audience, Swink says everything is explained and there is even a surprise that's revealed at the end.

"They tie up all the ends," she says.

While Waycross and Gormley are probably considered the lead characters, Swink says no character in the play is unnecessary.

"It's a real ensemble piece," she says.

It's also a lighter piece, and Swink, who has been involved with the theater since 1972, says she wanted it to be fun.

"At this time in our existence, we need some fun in our lives, and I just wanted to do something light," she says. "I thought it was a fun enough play to work with."

"Said the Spider to the Spy" will run May 7-9, 13-16 and 20-22. Show times are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The theater is located at 315 W. Boscawen St. in Winchester. For tickets, call the box office at 662-3331 or go online to www.wltonline.org.


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