Fall Play breaks from tradition

Prosecutor Mitchell DeHaan (Warren Cass) gives a passionate opening statement accusing Lowe of murdering her husband.

Milaca High School Fall Play cast and crew have been rehearsing “on location” this week as they recite their lines and practice their entrances at the Mille Lacs County Courthouse.

Departing from the typical classic renditions, tragedies and comedies, the Milaca Drama Department is presenting “The People v. Maxine Lowe.”

“Last year the students asked for a serious murder mystery, and we found one,” said drama director and English teacher Audrey French.

The play, by Luella McMahon, is a three act murder mystery that unfolds  during courtroom proceedings to convict Maxine Lowe after she is found standing over her dead husband.

She is defended by an untried attorney and has against her the great talents of the prosecuting attorney and his assistant, a talented young woman fresh out of law school. Maxine seems ready to admit guilt rather than reveal her past. Then, as the young attorney for the defense continues his probing, there’s a sudden and dramatic shift of roles and the mysterious past is slowly revealed when each witness takes the stand.

Being able to host some of the rehearsals in an actual courtroom, has been a real treat, according to the students. The experience made the play come alive for the performers.

“I feel way too professional,” joked Miles Larson, who plays defense attorney James Hathaway. “I’m not ready to defend anyone.”

The real-life scenery also reassured cast and crew that the set that is nearing completion is authentic.

“The set is built to look a lot like this,” French said. “And I’d never even seen this courtroom.”

Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday November 1-3 as well as Friday and Saturday Nov. 9-10 in the Dahlager Theater.

Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.

For the full story, see the Thursday, Nov. 1 print edition of the Times.