Clue at Franklin

Posters for Clue that have been seen hanging up around Franklin in the past few weeks. Franklin’s 2020 production of Clue is a striking whodunnit put on by students. Poster by Lili Minato, Avi Israel-Davis, and Lena Gonzalez.

Based on the infamously iconic 1985 movie which was inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, Clue at Franklin was a hilarious whodunnit-meets-farce that kept the audience constantly questioning who they could and could not trust. After six mysterious guests arrive at a mansion for an unexpected dinner party, blackmail, murder, and confusion among the participants ensue. Everyone is a suspect—Wadsworth the butler, Yvette the maid, Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Colonel Mustard. With two different casts in the Franklin show, audience members got a chance at twice the ridiculous antics from the characters of Clue.

This show was full of slapstick and physical humor, and started from the beginning with a hilarious lesson in awkward soup eating. This two minute scene after the wacky characters were introduced and forced to eat dinner together was a personal favorite. The silence between tense soup slurps was unnerving at first, but the audience became slowly entranced with the increasingly defining bites that rang throughout the theater and set the unpredictable and pressure-filled tone for the rest of the show.

One character who was played by the same student in both casts was the (presumed) and much-hated blackmailer Mr. Boddy, played by Troodon Althoff (12). Delivering their lines with a perfect amount of mystery and emotion, Althoff shone through in both casts and delivered two amazing death scenes. 

Tali Hastings (12), playing Mrs. White in the “A” cast (the cast that did the show on opening night), says that it was an interesting play to work with as an actor. “We all had to kind of work to create our own personas for the characters, and not follow what we would infer exactly about the characters from the script. We had to play with the comedy lines,” says Hastings. Mrs. White is a woman with five deceased husbands whose deaths are somewhat of a mystery. “Some of the lines are a little iffy and weird.” Hastings says her character is all over the place, crazy and dark. At the end of the day, Hastings says the play was fun, explaining, “it’s not every day that you get to kill someone.”

Eva Carr (12) played Yvette, the maid in the “B” cast, and says that she enjoyed doing a French accent, and getting a death scene. It seems like death scenes are a favorite among actors, with Carr saying, “I like the part where I get to die, where I’m strangled to death. It’s not every day that you get to die multiple times.” The one complaint that Carr had for this production was the fact that some of the female characters seemed to be flat compared to their male counterparts. “The female characters are kind of poorly developed and all over the place.” 

This play was a little out of the ordinary for many students, as the plays are usually scheduled for the Fall, and musicals are in the Winter/Spring. After Clue, Franklin is scheduled to have another play in the Spring. Because of this, cast and crew had to shave their production time down a few weeks. This meant that every rehearsal for Clue was double the work without much time to rest. Jillian Dixon (12) played Miss Scarlett in the “B” cast, and says that this time crunch was difficult when it came to line memorization. “I guess I never really got through that issue because before I could deal with it, the performances were happening,” says Dixon. “Being really rushed made everyone super dedicated to their roles and forced everyone to be responsible,” she continues.

Franklin plays are never possible without the help of a production team and technical crew. Stage Managers, Costume Designers, Lighting, Sound and Makeup Designers, Props, Art, Set, and Run Crew are all integral parts in making Clue pop on stage. 

For many students, this may be their last Franklin High School production. On closing night, Director Josh Forsythe handed out yellow roses for all graduating seniors. This scene was melancholy, with thanks given to all and tearful goodbyes as these actors leave their theater community. No matter the cast, Clue’s loud sneezes, double-entendres, and multiple murders made this play a must-see for fans and newcomers alike. 

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