By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: April 2012
Playwright Mark Ogle (left) and play director Dan Huey (right) go over Ogle’s latest script, “The Butler Did It,” with David Barron, who will be portraying a crime boss in the murder mystery fundraiser.
The year is 1950. The head “Boss” of a crime gang from Kansas City, Missouri has rented a large house in Claremore for a meeting with Mr. Big, a rival gang boss from St. Louis. The Boss wants to meet with Mr. Big in a neutral location to discuss a truce or the union of the two rival gangs so they can take over all of the Midwest.
Of course, the plot thickens, just as all of Mark Ogle’s murder mysteries do. In “The Butler Did It,” Ogle has done it again with a play guaranteed to entertain and stretch the audience’s sleuthing skills.
Part of the fun of the murder mysteries written by Ogle is audience involvement and the opportunity to win the coveted “Super Sleuth Award.” Not only do audience members take a stab at who the culprit is, they must figure out why he or she committed the dastardly deed.
“When I write a play, I tell the story so that there can be three to five possible logical endings,” says Ogle. “I give many extra clues so there is no pre-determined ending. Sometimes I am not sure while I am writing who the culprit is going to be,” he adds.
Pastor Ray Crawford, Claremore First United Methodist Church, will be reprising his role as Sherlock Holmes in the American Red Cross fundraiser, “The Butler Did It,” set for April 20 and 21 at RSU’s Will Rogers Auditorium.
“In the past,” says play director Dan Huey, “it has been known for the guilty party to change from night to night of the play’s performance. A classic example is the ‘Ghost in the Mansion.’”
Ogle and Huey’s partnership as playwright and director was formed in 2004 with that same play, which was performed at the Belvidere Mansion. “He does the writing,” says Huey, “and I do the directing. It’s a good partnership because I can’t write and he can’t act.”
Both laugh because even Ogle admits that he tends to overact, although he does appear in some of his mysteries. This is his 18th play, with two mysteries performed each year, one in the spring at RSU’s Will Rogers Auditorium and in the fall at Claremore First United Methodist Church, which collaborates with the American Red Cross in a dinner theatre. All proceeds from both performances support Rogers County American Red Cross disaster-related services.
The spring event, co-sponsored by Rogers State University and Rotary Club of Claremore, will take place this year on April 20 and 21. “We are very grateful to RSU because they allow us to use the theater for rehearsals for a week leading up to the play’s debut,” says Huey.
Audience members will delight in the return of some well-known characters from past Ogle plays, including Deputy Harold, a cousin to Sheriff Buford Tullis, who will also appear in “The Butler Did It.”
David Brace will return as Deputy Harold. “Once he puts on the costume, he is Deputy Harold,” says Ogle.
Another character, Deputy Harold’s friend, is Filbert, played by Ted King. Filbert owns a used car business and is a “wannabe detective,” says Ogle. “Filbert graduated from the Acme School of Private Investigators in Las Vegas.”
Twenty-three actors will round out the cast of characters, including David Barron, RSU’s executive director of enrollment management, who will portray “The Boss.” This is Barron’s third play with the American Red Cross.
Eight youth, ranging in age from eight to 15 years old, will also appear in this classic mystery with the iconic “butler did it” theme. Other familiar acting faces will also include Ken Skidmore, Celina Davis, Dakie Reeder, Ray Crawford and Lisa Fink, along with a host of new faces.
Both performances will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6. Cost is $15 for adults and $5 for students. “We invite everyone to come to this family-oriented, clean entertaining fun,” says Ogle.
After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.