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Philip High School acting club to perform comic thriller/mystery "Forest of the Dead"

We’ve got to stop him, I tell you ... “You say a prayer if you want to. But make sure you say a prayer for the victims and their families, too.” Positive that the almost comatose patient is a killer, three teenagers decide they must stop the local murder spree. Playing ex-fun-loving characters in the up-coming Philip High School comic thriller are, from left: Colby Smith, Shelby Berguson and Kenzy Pinney.

Two local teenagers and their new accomplice love practical jokes. But, they don't know when to quit, even when little old ladies take pot shots at them. Life is hilarious ... until people start ending up dead.

The two-act thriller "Forest of the Dead" will be performed at the Philip High School at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 20th, and at 7:00 p.m. on the following Friday, April 25th.

"This year's play is different than those performed in the past," said director Laura O'Connor, "in that it is a comic thriller more on the serious side as compared to the comedies and farces performed by the Philip High School actors in the past."

The characters' sarcasm and dead-pan comments barely cover the tension that any murder in any community would generate. The action takes place in the back yards of two neighboring families. It just happens that the cemetery is just behind their houses. It just happens that the nearby woods are said to be haunted. And while the murders continue, it seems that everybody has a secret.

Shelby Berguson and Kenzy Pinney play the unstoppable pranksters. Their characters recruit one more, played by Colby Smith, to terrorize the community. She and her divorced mother, played by Brandy Bartels, have returned to the home of grandma, played by Loni Nelson.

Next door lives the aged grave digger who is troubled by nightmares, played by Jesse Manke. His wife, played by Emma Slovek, is a seasoned and moralistic nurse. Their grown son, who still lives with them and has a thing for past loves, is played by Dallas Lamm.

The sheriff, by marrying the oblivious mother played by Mariah Evans, is the new stepfather to the two teenage delinquents. He, played by John Hanes, has to solve the murders. His competency is constantly under fire from the in-your-face radio personality, played by Colton Nickelson. Michelle Van Tassel plays the announcer's assistant.

The local doctor is ambitious to a shockingly ruthless degree. She is played by Abby Carley.

Zane Pekron plays the local handyman. He "dies" first, supposedly at the hands of the character played by Smith. He is resurrected by the doctor, but remains practically comatose.

The only things for sure are that the murders continue and that the murderer must be from the community of Chestnut Hollow. The dark-humor jokes, pranks and sarcasm can be taken humorously or as deadly serious.

O'Connor said, "The play is presented by young actors, many new to the stage. They have worked very hard for the past two months, on top of school work and other activities, to prepare this show."

Set construction was headed by Hanes. Lights and sound are headed by Nickelson. The female understudy is Jennifer Stangle.

Enjoy the humor and the drama. Can you figure out who is the real murderer before the surviving characters do? Be careful not to "ax" the wrong questions. And, do you really want to discover what is under the picnic table?