Professor Dirk Carlton (Luke Wagner) examines a priceless gem during a ZAP! Theatre dress rehearsal of Oh

Professor Dirk Carlton (Luke Wagner) examines a priceless gem during a ZAP! Theatre dress rehearsal of Oh

Murder mystery to help fund Tanzanian orphanage

ZAP! Theatre is introducing to the community a night of comedic madness and mayhem with several performances of Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder!

ZAP! Theatre is introducing to the community a night of comedic madness and mayhem with several performances of Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder! at the Asker Church in the next two weeks to continue to serve a good cause. 

The play follows the investigation into the death of professor Dirk Carlton just as he was about to give a lecture at a museum detailing his great archeological finds in Egypt, which included a now missing prized jewel.

“It’s a rollicking good time,” said director and general manager Daniel Allers.

“You’ve got your classic cast of characters,” he added, referring to parts  ranging from that of a wacky detective to the love interest.

The play has been in rehearsals since the end of January, but Allers says it was actually brought before the theatre as a possibility in 2012. “It was actually the other production we considered doing that year,” he said.

“So I brought it back . . . everybody loves a good murder mystery,” he added.

This year, the cast included members of the troupe from as a far away as Airdrie and Spruce View. “They all have a passion for acting,” said Allers.

“It’s amazing to have a group of young people (17 to 25 years of age) who are so dedicated to give up every Saturday night,” he added.

Performances take place at the Asker Church, east of Ponoka of on Highway 53, on May 1, 2, 8 and 9. Evening shows are at 7 p.m. with 1:30 p.m. matinees on Saturdays; doors open a half hour before show time.

Admission to the performances is by donation.

Allers encourages those looking for good entertainment to come see the play and support those involved.

“Laughter is good for the soul,” said Allers.

“Quality local theatre doesn’t grow on trees,” he added.

Tanzanian orphanage

All of the proceeds from the performances are donated to a boys’ orphanage just south of Muanza, Tanzania, which is funded by the theatre and the Central Alberta Homeschool Choir.

Not only does the cast have a dedication to performing, they are also passionate about helping Patrick and Beatrice Mwafule, the operators of the orphanage.

“It’s really remarkable,” said Allers. Since the entirety of the proceeds go to the orphanage, production costs of the performances comes from the pockets of those involved and a few sponsors. Allers says costs can reach as high as $3,000.

“They’re passionate about what they do and they believe it is possible to make a difference,” said Allers.

In the last three to four years, the theatre and the choir have raised approximately $200,000 for the orphanage.

Within the last three months, the boys at the orphanage — approximately 35 of them — finally moved into the completed building and Allers says the next step is “to make the organization and the land self-sufficient so funding can stop coming from North America, that’s the dream.”