Presbyterian Women’s Association (PWA) members (from left) Joan Kelley, June Harvey, Jo Fitzgerald, Vera McCollum, Wilma Kerr, Kathy Drake (foreground), Patty Schrenk and Bev Rogers perform ”The Decadent Housewives of Hysteria Lane,” this year’s annual PWA Mystery Play. PHOTO PROVIDED/MARTHA MCREYNOLDS JR
A rollicking good time was had by all during Creswell Presbyterian Women’s Association’s Fifth Annual Mystery Play and Reception. ”The Decadent Housewives of Hysteria Lane” was performed Saturday afternoon before a full house in the Presbyterian Church sanctuary, followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall.
The play, which opened with a prayer from Pastor Seth Wheeler and the song, ”Suds in the Bucket,” performed by Jacque Robertson, centers on a group of friends who gather to discuss the was-it-or-wasn’t-it-a-murder death of neighborhood troublemaker, Elaine. As the women their relationships with Elaine, it becomes clear that everyone had a motive and could be responsible for her demise.
The cast of eight women were charmingly portrayed by PWA members.
Betsy, a well-meaning woman whose good intentions often go astray, was played by Wilma Kerr; Flashy but rather dim Sue Ann was played by Bev Rogers; worn-out mother of five, Jeanette was played by June Harvey; accident-prone, good-natured Ruthie was played by Joan Kelley; appearance-conscious fashion model Abby was played by Vera McCollum; neighborhood gossip Mrs. Pulaski was played by Patty Schrenk; tea party hostess Dee was played by Jo Fitzgerald; and real estate agent Eve – who witnessed Elaine’s death – was played by Kathy Drake.
Church pastor, Seth Wheeler portrayed Detective Wheeler Dealer, who investigated Elaine’s death and at the end of the play announced the manner of death and the culprit. It turned out that Elaine’s death was an accident, not a murder – the result of tripping and hitting her head after an argument with Betsy, who fled the scene.
”The last three of five of our plays have been murder mysteries, but we had one other that wasn’t a murder,” noted the play’s director, Ada Noble.
Two prizes were awarded: the traveling ”Antoinette” trophy – a play on Broadway’s Tony award-went to Kelley for Best Performance, and audience member Carolyn Hale received a prize basket after her name was drawn from all those who correctly guessed the play’s outcome.
Putting on these annual plays ”is a lot of work,” said Noble. ”We’re all still exhausted – but we had a great turnout and we all had a really great time.”
This year’s play was dedicated in memory of Edythe Stromme, a past performer who passed away on Dec. 26, 2017.
”She was very active in the PWA and acted in past years’ plays, and even wrote a play,” Noble said.
Admission was free, but donations were gratefully accepted, with the proceeds donated to Stromme’s favorite charity, The Salvation Army, in her honor.