Off the Water photo/KATIE ROHMAN Hailey Stangebye, 15, and Buddha Hunt, 19, rehearse for the Four Flags Players’ mystery dinner theater production to be held today at the Four Flags Hotel in Niles.

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Mayhem at Hunter Ice Festival

Published 11:04pm Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Hunter Ice Festival tradition will return this year with promises of madness, mayhem and mystery.

The Four Flags Players will present a murder mystery dinner theater at 7:30 p.m. today at the Four Flags Hotel in Niles.

The “play within a play” focuses on the last dress rehearsal of the final scene in “Hamlet.”

“The cast is actually going through the audience,” director Cathy Heide said. “There’s a lot of audience participation.”

Guests are also invited to wear 1940s-style attire to the dinner theater.

Actors, coming from Niles and Cassopolis, include Dakota Word, Ryan Motuelle, Will Wreggelsworth, Taylor Morris,Angie Newton, Jesse Newton, Buddha Hunt and Hailey Stangebye.

Most actors are high school and college students, and several are pursuing arts-related careers. Although the Four Flags Players’ cast varies from production to production, many participants return because they have a passion for acting.

“I’m in it mostly for stress relief,” said Taylor Morris, 18.

Hailey Stangebye, 15, a student at St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, said she was “hooked” after being recruited for a past murder mystery production.

“Now, they can’t get rid of me,” she said.

Heide said Four Flags Players has been working with several local restaurateurs, such as the Hob Nob, Prime Table and Wings Etc., to provide food for the evening.

“Our patrons get an opportunity to taste a lot of restaurants in Niles,” Heidel said.

This year’s dinner theater performance will be held in the Queen Anne room of the Four Flags Hotel, 404 E. Main St.
The facility seats 96 people; about half of the spots are available.

Dinner proceeds benefit the Four Flags Players; however, the group has held mystery dinner theaters that benefit organizations such as the Kiwanis Club, First Presbyterian Church, Sacred Heart Basilica and St. Mary’s School.

Get there … if you dare

Reservations will be taken for $35 per person, and can be made by calling the Ticket Reservation Hotline at (269) 695-1150.

Reservations may also be made online at www.shop.nilesffp.org.

Seating will be tables of eight and is limited.

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