A Washougal Whodunit: Drama students to perform ‘Clue (High School Edition)’

Student production opens Feb. 18 at Washburn Performing Arts Center, runs through Feb. 26

Washougal High School theater students (from left to right) Bart Stevens, Savannah Yokel, Daisha Paz-Mendoza, Chloe Dahler and Bailey Cole rehearse the school's upcoming production of "Clue (High School Edition)" on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022.

Washougal High School theater students Lilian Barrett (left) and Savannah Yokel rehearse the school's upcoming production of "Clue (High School Edition) on Friday, Feb. 11.

Washougal High School theater students (left to right) Claire Zakovics, Chloe Dahler, Jacob Haveman, Lilian Barrett, Bailey Cole, Savannah Yokel and Daisha Paz-Mendoza rehearse the school's upcoming production of "Clue (High School Edition) on Friday, Feb. 11.

The turnout for the Washougal High School Drama department’s latest production was so large that director Kelly Gregersen decided to divide the performances between two separate casts.

The department will present its production of “Clue (High School Edition)” at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, Saturday, Feb. 19, Thursday, Feb. 24, and Friday, Feb. 25, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Washburn Performing Arts Center.

“In a post-COVID world, I was thinking it might be a good year (to do ‘Clue’) because even though it’s large for a non-musical, it’s still a smaller-cast show — it’s about 15 performers,” Gregersen said. “But we had about 40 audition, so we are actually running two casts (rotating) every other night because we wanted to have one group open the show and one group close the show. We have a couple of times where they’re in a row, but most of the time every other show has a new cast.”

The play is adapted from “Clue,” a 1985 comedy mystery film based on the popular board game of the same name, starring Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren.

The film initially received mixed reviews and performed poorly at the box office, but later developed a considerable cult following.

“It’s stayed kind of relevant,” Gregersen said. “It’s amazing the number of kids and parents who’ve watched it and say, ‘It’s one of my favorite movies.’ That gives a really nice entree to the play. It was wonderful that Camas had a ‘Clue’ themed First Friday a month or two ago, when they had the Liberty Theater to do a showing of the movie. Pretty much my entire cast went as a ‘cast-togetherness’ activity and watched the movie together. I think there’s also been some game playing.”

“Clue (High School Edition),” written by Sandy Rustin and based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, takes place at a remote mansion, where six guests assembled for a dinner party become murder suspects when their host turns up dead, and then engage in a high-stakes pursuit to find the killer as the body count continues to climb.

The production features multiple conclusions that “play with all of the alternate ways it could end,” Gregresen said. Inspired by the nature of the board game, the film’s initial release featured several different endings, with one of three possibilities sent to movie theaters at the time. Home media releases include all three endings presented sequentially.

“As I read through the script, I thought it would just be a ball for the kids to do,” Gregersen said. “It’s very big. It’s very silly. It’s just a lot of fun. It veers toward comedy. The wonderful thing has been watching two different casts. Each group has kind of taken the characters in different directions.”

Even the set has been designed to go in different directions.

“We have to keep moving from room to room to room, so there are a lot of moving pieces,” Gregersen said. “There’s nothing permanent on stage. Everything flies or rolls. Pieces just move all the time. We actually even have some projections that we’re using to do dice rolls as the characters move from room to room. We’re really playing with the idea of the board game. ”

Tickets cost $5 per person and will be available at the door. For more information, visit washougal.k12.wa.us/blog/event/whs-drama-presents-clue.