Benjamin Kolis ’12 in “The Butler Did It”

Posted on August 22nd, 2011 by

Terri Johnson as Miss Maple, John Paul Hogan as Louie Pan and Benjamin Kolis as Peter Flimsey

Terri Johnson as Miss Maple, John Paul Hogan as Louie Pan and Benjamin Kolis as Peter Flimsey

“The butler did it!” is one of the most famous (or infamous) lines in the theatre. The “who-done-it” or mystery genre in the theatre is one of the most popular. For the cast, it’s fun to play with the audience. For the audience, it needs to pay attention. In July, Benjamin Kolis ’12 was on the cast side of the equation as he participated in the Eau Claire (Wisconsin) Children’s Theatre annual murder mystery, The Butler Did It! at the Oxford Theatre in Eau Claire.

The Butler Did It! follows the classic plot line of most murder mysteries. Miss Maple has invited a number of guests to her island mansion to write a murder mystery, a storm has cut off power and contact with the island and one of the guests mysteriously dies. Or maybe not. The mystery for the audience is to determine whether the murder is real or simply faked as part of the story.

The cast of The Butler Did It said murder mystery shows can be the most fun for both actors and audiences. However, with so many secrets at stake, it makes playing the roles a bit more challenging.

Benjamin Kolis ’12 who played Detective Peter Flimsey: “All the characters are parodies of actually really famous detectives, so it’s funny to these people playing their characters and trying to interact with what turns out to be an actual mystery. When people come to a mystery knowing it’s a mystery, they pay attention to really small things. If you’re not careful as an actor, you can end up changing the play completely without intending to by doing something differently or touching a prop the wrong way.”

The Eau Claire Children’s Theatre performance of The Butler Did It! ran July 13 through July 17 and the mystery was solved by the end of each show. If you missed it, you may never know whether the butler did, indeed, do it or not.

Benjamin Kolis is a senior major in the Department of Theatre and Dance from Eau Claire. His senior honors project in physical theatre, Glass, a work that he has created, is scheduled for the Anderson Theatre stage in April, 2012. Tickets for Glass will be available online at gustavustickets.com one month prior to the show.

 

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