The Kenai Senior Center will turn into Ilbredde Manor at the stroke of 7 p.m. April 6 and all the guests will have to solve the mystery of who killed the host.
So will begin the Murder Mystery Dinner Party sponsored by the senior center to raise funds to establish a computer lab at the center.
The setting of the party is Ilbredde Manor in 1943. The host of what was to be a dinner party has mysteriously been murdered, and it is up to the guests to find the murderer.
Kellie Kelso, the center's director, said she and a friend of hers in Healy wrote a mystery dinner theater and it was financially successful.
"We had a lot of fun doing it and did very well with it," she said, adding she also has had the same kind of dinner in her home.
Eight seniors will play the parts of suspects placed in various different rooms to give clues to the detectives. Each suspect has an interesting personality and will entertain detectives as they present clues.
The suspects will present two monologues and answer questions for the detectives.
Dan English, 65, will play the role of Hunter Avlines, a big game hunter who spends much of his time in Africa.
English said he was volunteered for the role.
"At the senior center I get volunteered a lot for a lot of things," he said. "That's how this all came about."
English said he has been a part of the center for a while and enjoys the many activities, as well as driving the van for other seniors.
"It is hard not to be involved if you are going to be a part of (the center)," he said.
The character he will play also is known to be an international playboy. English said that is why he was chosen for the role.
"The character I play is a womanizer ... and Kelly said, 'Dan, that fits you to a tee,'" he said.
Though the seniors have not had their scripts long, English said he doesn't have a choice when it comes to learning his lines.
"My wife said I am going to learn it," he said.
Betty Paynter, 67, said she took drama classes in high school and is not worried by the script.
"I think I have got the essence of what the play is about and love to ad-lib," she said.
In fact, during her most recent trip to Hawaii, she attended an improvisational theater and was invited on stage.
"I loved it," she said.
Paynter has been assigned the role of Morticia Balmer, a Russian immigrant who owns Balmer's Budget Burials.
She said the woman strikes her as ambitious and comical.
"It gives me a chance to ham it up," Paynter said.
Paynter said she does not think many younger people in the community realize senior citizens are into things such as this.
"The idea of the seniors doing this is great," she said.
Like English, Paynter is involved in other senior activities, including teaching hula dancing and tai chi classes.
Patsy Clifford and her husband, Glen, are both in the cast. Both are 65 and have been involved with the center for more than 10 years.
Neither have any acting experience, but they have been using flash cards to help each other practice.
Patsy plays the role of the housekeeper, while Glen is Lord Diamend who is a member of the British aristocracy.
Tickets are available from Kenai seniors or by calling the center at 283-4156. The cost is $15 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under.
Many of the seniors are looking forward to the performance.
"I think it is going to be so much fun," said Patsy Clifford.
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