At Hawkeye Community Theatre this week, "Honeymoon at Graveside Manor" will mix silly scares with sweet treats.
Dodging a crazy ghost with a hatchet isn't usually how one wants to spend a honeymoon getaway. Then again, perhaps Tyler and Marian Thorncraft shouldn't have picked out a haunted, abandoned former mortuary as their romantic destination.
Complicating things are a maid who gets lost in the catacombs behind the walls, an escaped lunatic and the absent-minded cop hunting him, and three high school kids trying to set up a Halloween prank.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
The cast reacts in this tense scene from the creepy farce “Honeymoon at Graveside Manor,” the upcoming Hawkeye Theatre dessert show. From left, Buzz Powers, Joan Meyer, Ann Powers, Ethan Ledeboer (barely visible), Katelyn Helgevold, Amanda Von Dolteren, Dylan Drummond, Kiana Vrchoticky, Jeff Bluml and Teresa Cross.
But before the audience can find out how it all ends, they'll be whisked off to the basement for homemade pies and cakes.
This is dessert theater, a long-running Hawkeye tradition which raises money for local charitable groups.
"It started a couple decades ago," said Director Mike Shoopman. "The charitable organization that does that reaps the financial benefits of that, Hawkeye doesn't. We do it as a community service."
If you go:
WHAT: Annual dessert theater
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Oct. 21
WHERE: Hawkeye Community Theatre, 521 N. 12th St.
TICKETS: $10 or suitable membership level, available at the door or at www.hawkeyetheatre.com.
The sweets will be provided by the Xi Delta Epsilon sorority.
"It's a service sorority, it has nothing to do with college," said sorority member Bev Totten. "I was on the Hawkeye board and have done a few plays, so that's how we got hooked up to begin with."
This year, they plan on giving gift cards to some women who participate in the Foster Grandparents program.
"The Foster Grandmothers - we have several of them in each school," Totten said. "We'll contact (Director) Jeanine Nemitz and find out where that's needed. Also, people are looking at their churches for families that might need some extra help around the holidays."
The sorority has supported many different organizations.
"We've given to Beacon of Hope, the YWCA, we've redecorated a room, just various things. We give to the Coats 4 Kids, and other things through the school," Totten said.
Three to four people sign up to provide homemade desserts every night during intermission. Totten herself will be one of them.
"I'm going to make apple Danish, because of the apple season, and just serve it with ice cream and some caramel sauce," she said.
Shoopman said in years past the sorority has always impressed with their baking.
"It's all kinds of cakes and pies, all homemade. And it's a pretty good deal, a couple bucks for a piece of cake. It's a massive chunk of chocolate cake with frosting and it's awesome," Shoopman said.
As far as the play itself, Shoopman said this script is perfect for this time of year.
"By now most folks know I relish doing dark comedies and twisted stories, either making folks laugh or scaring the crap out of them. The frosting on that little cupcake is doing both at once," he said.
Teresa Cross, who plays the honeymooning wife, said this is her first show at Hawkeye, although she's done plenty of plays in Jefferson.
About playing her role, she said, "It's been really good because I get to beat up my husband and yell and scream at him. I get scared. I run around. I kind of go up and down the whole time."
Her husband is played by Jeff Bluml.
The creepy crone with the ax, simply called The Woman in the cast list, is played by Joan Meyer. She said this was a fun role to fill.
"Mike says this is a ghostly farce, and I consider myself the farcical ghost," Meyer said. "I'm not on all the time, but when I am I think it makes an impact."
Putting on the white and red ghostly makeup isn't really that much work.
"This might be the easiest show for makeup that I've had. I don't have to worry about looking real," she said.
What is the hardest part about this show?
"Not laughing when we're watching from the sidelines."