This weekend, our Rhetoric Drama II Students will perform Arsenic and Old Lace at our Midtown theater, Friday and Saturday at 7pm.  We are so excited that this play will be open to The Academy community and hope you all make plans to join us there!


The play is a dark comedy revolving around the Brewster family, composed of maniacs, most of them homicidal. The hero, Mortimer Brewster, is a drama critic who must deal with his crazy, murderous family and local police in Brooklyn, New York, as he debates whether to go through with his recent promise to marry the woman he loves, Elaine Harper, who lives next door and is the daughter of the local minister. His family includes two spinster aunts (who have taken to murdering lonely old men by poisoning them with a glass of homemade elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and “just a pinch” of cyanide), a brother who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt and digs locks for the Panama Canal in the cellar of the Brewster home; and a murderous brother who has received plastic surgery performed by an alcoholic accomplice, Dr. Einstein to conceal his identity


Though it is not a quintessential piece studied in the Classical context, Arsenic and Old Lace is a classic play that has been performed all over the world since 1941. And though the play is a farcical comedy, the play is also full of vices and lessons to be learned from. Many of these things are obviously wrong and over-dramatized, but we can even see what life can look like and how things can fall apart when we take things into our own control. Also, since Arsenic and Old Lace is a comedy, we get to experience the joy of laughter in community, which is a true gift from God.


According to the Drama II students, it has been quite some time since they have performed in a comedy and they are ecstatic to do so! It will be extra comical to watch our performance of Arsenic and Old Lace because at least 7 of the male roles will be played by females. At the end of a school year in a pandemic, we are so excited to bring laughter to The Academy community.