After a year of virtual performances, DPAC is back with a mysterious and audience interactive Fall Play. for 2021.


Photo Submitted

Cast and crew of the fall play Whodunnit? gather for rehearsal. This year’s play will be a comedic murder mystery with audience interaction.

Natalia Ipatova , Reporter

Last year Dallastown Performing Arts Club (DPAC) was forced to do the performances of their annual Fall Play virtually.

The actors missed performing for a live audience so much that this year they decided to make the play as interactive as possible.

For three nights, November 19 – 21, the auditorium, choral room, lobby, cafeteria, library, and faculty workroom will become a stage for a devised interactive show Whodunnit?

The story follows a theater company trying to find their leading lady on the opening night of their average Agatha Christie style murder mystery show.

We felt like people need to get up and move just as well as they need to laugh because in the past 18 months we not only have been chained to these computers but haven’t had enough to laugh about, too”

— Mrs. Yuninger

The idea of making this year’s performance interactive came to DPAC’s officers last year.

“We were looking for a way to welcome the community back into the school, still be able to maintain some distance and be safe, but get people involved, because we felt so disconnected,” Bethany Yuninger, DPAC’s faculty adviser said.

DPAC officers decided to make this show in genre of comedy murder mystery because “people just enjoy that.” They wanted to make people guess and laugh.

We felt like people need to get up and move just as well as they need to laugh because in the past 18 months we not only have been chained to these computers but haven’t had enough to laugh about, too,” Yuninger said.

Another distinctive feature of this year’s Fall Play is that this is a company show. There are no leading roles. Everybody’s role is equally important.

The “bones” of the script, the general lines for interaction, were written by student directors Nicholas Ryan, Grayson Lauer, Halle Eaton, and Rachel Fischman.

“As the kids came on stage and started running through the lines, we added to it too. In this way, through the rehearsal process, we refined the script to what it is right now,” Yuninger said.

All of the actors were able to contribute to their character development and to their lines.

“It’s gonna be a bit of a challenge [because actors will have to improvise a lot], but, honestly, the fact that we wrote this play makes it really special. I wrote my own character and I’m excited to play out my ‘brainchild’,” Valerie Houle, who plays Dita D’Lish and Sam Jones, said.

Cast and crew of the fall play Whodunnit? (Photo Submitted )

Houle is a senior. She’s been a member of DPAC since 10th grade, but this is her first performance as an actress. In 2019’s fall play, Game of Tiaras, Houle worked as a member of a crew and in 2020 had to stay at home for the safety of her family.

Because the script was written through the rehearsal process, it constantly changed.

But after overcoming quarantine restrictions DPAC members learned to adapt to any changes.

“We’ll figure it out” can often be heard from students at fall play rehearsals.

Keeping in mind the last year’s experience and to provide the audience with a choice, the theater company also will record their performance as a website.

“After the show, people who weren’t able to come to the school will be able to access our show in a choose-your-own-adventure style web-adventure linked to our club homepage,” Yuninger said.

Even though the Covid-19 situation continues to be the cause of all sorts of challenges, Yuninger stays positive.

“We will get up on stage and have some fun,” she says to the students at the rehearsals.

This positivity is transmitted to the students.

“I’m gonna get to interact with the audience directly and improvise, which is gonna be fun. I guess I’m gonna lose some calories,” Houle said.

Photo Submitted

Reserve tickets to Whodunnit? for $10.00 per adult, $7.00 per senior citizen, or $5.00 per child 12 & under online at dahsdpac.booktix.com