By Jill Holloway – Thomasville Times Enterprise – February 23, 2024

THOMASVILLE — Laughter will fill the house at Thomasville On Stage and Company next weekend, as the theater presents The Play That Goes Wrong.

The comedy begins before the curtain is ever raised, as the audience is present while the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society prepares for their new production- a 1920s murder mystery titled ‘Murder at Haversham Manor.’ However, the set is not completed and there is no time to finish it. Alas, the show must go on.

With a murder established in the opening scene, the mystery dives in head first. But, as props begin to disappear, the set begins to collapse and actors go missing, mayhem ensues and the acting only gets worse. Audience members watch in collective laughs and gasps as they question if any of the cast and crew will remain standing by the end of the production.

Directed by Cherokee Godwin, the production is sure to tickle a funny bone.

Godwin was immediately drawn to the show as it reminded her of TOSAC’s setbacks on occasions.

“I was visiting my brother in Chicago in 2021 and he took me to see a Broadway tour of the show,” Godwin said. “I loved the show; it was so funny. I’m not a person who laughs out loud at things, but this show had me laughing non-stop.”

It was at that moment, that Godwin knew she had to bring The Play That Goes Wrong to the TOSAC stage.

Seeing the show on Broadway heightened Godwin’s expectations of seeing it on the small stage.

“My goal is to have it as close to what they do on the big scale on this tiny, little stage,” she said.

However, that vision has certainly presented some challenges for Godwin, as the show calls for a set with two stories in certain scenes.

“We only have a 10 ft. ceiling, so that means our floors are five feet high each; if our actors are 5 ft. tall, they will bump their head,” she explained.

The set alone has already shown some of the real-life challenges and scenarios presented in The Play That Goes Wrong.

Godwin said the set was designed by Jonathan Bass, who she knows through her children’s dance company.

Bass helped craft a “falling” floor with safety in mind, creating one of the most intense technical sets the cast and crew have worked on.

“It’s definitely going to relate to people who have experience in theater,” Godwin said. “This show you’ll see everything from dropped lines to scenes that keep looping because no one can remember their lines, to missing props and the set falling apart. In real life, you have to act around those things and this show is full of that.”

Because the show is so relatable, Godwin said they had many interested actors and actresses turn out to audition, some of whom will be playing two characters in the small cast.

Michael Henderson will play the role of Trevor Watson, the lighting and sound operator, while Rachel Faulkner will play Chris Bean, or Inspector Carter, who serves as the show (‘Murder at Haversham Manor’s) director, set designer, costume designer, prop maker, box office manager, press and PR person, voic se coach, dialect coach and fight choreographer.

Jordan Bass will take on the role of Jonathan Harris, who plays the key role of the murdered Charles Haversham in the production.

Charles Burden will play the character of Robert Grove, also known as Thomas Colleymoore in Murder at Haversham Manor.

Veteran actress Emmy Tanesics plays Dennis Tyde, otherwise known as Perkins, who is key in discovering Haversham has been murdered.

The cast concludes with Richard Roundtree, playing Max Bennett or Cecil Haversham (Charles’ brother), and Tasina Martinez playing Sandra Wilkinson or Florence Colleymoore, Charles’ fiancé.

Managing all of these characters is the Polytechnic Drama Society’s stage manager Annie Twiloli, played by Jaclyn O’Hara.

The production will open up on March 1 and run through March 10, with shows being held at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sundays.