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Who put the arsenic in the sugar bowl?


After seeing WHS Theater department’s production, We Have Always Lived in a Castle, I am confident that any audience member will leave the theater speechless and surprised.

Director Sam Smart ‘19 and co-director Kayla Jou ‘19 spent weeks helping the small cast prepare for these two-hour shows, which are filled with unexpected twists and events.   

“There really isn’t going to be a show at Westlake that’s like this,” said Smart. “The actors are very good, and it’s a small cast so everybody is super dedicated.”

We Have Always Lived in a Castle starts off slow with the first act introducing the main characters Constance Blackwood (Naomi Sylvester ‘20), Merricat Blackwood (Devon Estes ‘19) and Joan (Julia Steinman ‘19). It’s not until Charles Blackwood (Tyler Marquis ‘20) arrives to the home of the Blackwoods does the play takes off.

In acts two and three, everything unfolds: Uncle Julian (Josh Lunsford ‘19) has his “Constance-did-it days,” bowls smash, Charles finds out who put the arsenic in the sugar bowl, Joan gets a rude awakening in the dumbwaiter and Constance reveals the truth as her emotions tear her apart.

Not only does the show have a gloomy and mysterious atmosphere with the ghosts of part of the Blackwood family, but viewers will witness a romantic point of view as Charles and Constance rekindle a relationship they once had before. Additionally, Uncle Julian and Joan provide a comic relief in contrast to the play’s harsher themes.          

“Since the play is a lot heavier than what people are usually used to… it’s the on and off darkness and light that people are driven to,” said Steinman.

Shocking scenes come one after another as Constance explores the village and tries to find happiness with Charles. However, it will eventually go downhill as everything unfolds. With the suitable soundtrack and creative two-story set, the whole play comes together.           

With one more show left, Saturday Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Carpenter Family Theatre, students and families must see this show to feed their curiosity of who put the arsenic in the sugar bowl. After watching, there will be no regrets. Tickets are available at the door, $8 for students and $10 for adults.

         “[The show is unique because] it is really student directed,” said Lunsford. People should look forward to “the chilling creepy vibes that are given off by the show,” and they “can see theater in a new light because it’s different from what we usually do.”

Photo by Sam Smart

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Who put the arsenic in the sugar bowl?