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Four Flags Players present ‘A Wild West Mess’

Published 7:41am Friday, January 18, 2013

Four Flags Players will be performing “A Wild West Mess” for its fourth annual murder mystery dinner theater Hunter Ice Festival fundraiser.
President Cathy Heide directs the world premiere at 7 p.m. Saturday written by award-winning Chicago playwright Jessica Puller.
While she will not be able to attend, Puller is no stranger to Niles, which she visited for the premiere of her “The Creator” at First Presbyterian Church.
Heide said the show will be videotaped for Puller, who attended Northwestern University with her son, Jim.
“She really supports our group,” Heide said, “and we try to support new talent.”
Puller, “a Chicago girl, born and bred,” said Heide asked for a murder mystery dinner theater set in the wild West, so “I more or less took her idea and ran with it. I’m a huge fan of playing with tropes (clichés) in my writing. I particularly like to turn them on their heads. People will be able to see that in the production. Wild West tropes like the ‘schoolmarm’ are completely subverted.”
In the town of Huh, everyone has their place, from a stern sheriff to a kind-hearted school marm and the town’s “madam” to even a town idiot.
But when a snake oil salesman rolls into town again, everything is thrown into an uproar. The time has come again to sell off some of his “cure-all elixirs” that left such a bad taste in the mouths of many townsfolk.
Will everyone survive a visit from this peddler of tonics and miracles?
Assisting Heide on the crew are Jesse’s mother, Angi Newton; Cathy’s husband, Bob Heide on sound, assisted by Joyce’s husband, Elvis tribute artist Tim Dudley; and Irene Johnson and Lawanda Bell, props.
Mystery dinner theater “tries to put forth Niles in a local venue with local food,” Heide said.
Olfactory Hue Bistro, 226 E. Main St., will cater the meal served in the Queen Anne room at Four Flags Hotel, 404 E. Main St.
To “spur” interest in the theme, Heide encourages guests to dress in Western attire, such as boots and hats, for a menu that includes cowboy chili, barbecued chicken, roast potatoes, green beans, salad with ranch dressing and apple crunch for dessert.
There is also a vegetarian option of Ratatouille, a traditional French stewed vegetable dish, with tofu.
In addition, there will be a silent auction of items donated by local businesses and a cash bar. “Merchants were very generous,” Heide said.
To buy tickets, which cost $35, go to www.shop.nilesffp.org and follow the link.
At other times of the year, Four Flags Players stage dinner theater for other organization fundraisers, such as Kiwanis, Sacred Heart and the Burn Run.

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