Encore presents 'The Ghost of Mystery Manor'
By Kesha Williams
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Encore Theatre Company will bring the troubles of a haunted mansion to the Albemarle later this month — a mystery to be enjoyed with dinner.
John Burkhart’s comedic melodrama, “The Ghost of Mystery Manor,” takes on the challenges of wealthy retiree Morris Prosper and his daughter Modesty, whose lives are complicated by ghostly spirits and earthly villians.
Amid the mansion’s haunts are the entertaining antics of butler Rancid McFoul and maid Lucretia Lovesabuck who scheme to steal the Prosper's fortune by fair means or foul. Modesty's fiancé Steve Stalwart hopes to thwart them and defend the Prospers from the ghostly spirits as well.
Adding to the intrigue are neighbor Sara Silverspoon and nosy reporter Melissa Slander.
The dinner theater production plays July 20-22 and July 27-29 at Encore Threatre’s home building, 1176 S. U.S. Highway 17.
Amanda Brannon, director of the local production, said the script is hilarious, as the cast has had plenty of fun rehearsing. To the delight of the members of Encore, Burkhart not only granted permission for them to present the play but to add details relevant to the Albemarle.
Brannon is keen on blending the community connections to local theater. And in an era when live streaming has curbed public desire to venture far from the home front to find summer entertainment, this production is a premium experience. Unlike major cities where live theater takes place, the cast will recognize their neighbors and colleagues in the audience. That’s a special element for people on both sides of the stage.
“Being able to show off your talent, that is such a privilege. In a small town, it’s still good to pull together people who are willing to get dress up and perform,” Brannon said.
“There are plenty of people in this area who go to the beach for fun, or go to Virginia for entertainment. But it’s great to have something right here in town. Community theater will stay alive as long as there are people who want to act, people who want to volunteer to work on sets and volunteer behind the scenes,” Brannon said.
When Brannon reflects on the years she’s been involved with Encore’s supportive membership, she recalls conversations with people who simply cherish live performances. Community theater is a home to local people who want to be involved. Some long-time Encore participants have performed arts in their past — high school or college productions that called for musical, writing or acting talent. With Encore, those like-minded people find a kinship that binds them each time the stage lights are flipped on.
“There is something special about going to a live show. Knowing it is not happening, but believing it is happening because the actors pull you in; that is special. For kids who haven’t been exposed to live theatre, this is a great way to expose them to something new, some culture, something that is not on a screen,” Brannon said.
“We have a membership at Encore Theatre Company of about 45 to 50 people who voted to select this play. There are knowledgeable people who were founding members of Encore and they are still involved.
“They fell in love with community theatre because they wanted to be part of something special. We’d welcome new people who want to learn from people here who can teach them how theater out to be,” Brannon said.
When asked if July is an odd month to present ghosts on stage when they are commonly illuminated later in fall, Brannon denied that it was odd.
“Ghosts are around all the time. The script has lots of humor so it doesn’t have to be October.”
Mark your calendar right away. Show dates are July 20-22 and July 27-29. Other than Sundays, doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner is served at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday shows, July 29 and July 22, are matinees, and the doors open at 1 p.m. Dinner will be served at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $25, which includes both dinner and show. Contact: Dot Dudley at 333-2334.
If you want to go:
What: Encore Theater Company dinner theater production of John Burkhart’s comedic melodrama, “The Ghost of Mystery Manor”
When: July 20-22 and July 27-29; weeknights, 6:30 p.m.; Sundays,1:30 p.m.
Where: Encore Threatre’s home building, 1176 S. U.S. Highway 17, Elizabeth City
Tickets: $25 for dinner and performance; (252) 333-2334