Wichita County arts group to stage melodrama for fundraising





LEOTI — With names like Hilda Hatch, Ivy Drip and Trixie St. James, actors for the Wichita Arts Alliance will take the stage at the end of April to deliver the melodrama, "Dogsbreath Devreaux, the Dastardly Doctor," or "Nurses! Foiled Again."

The production is an annual fundraiser for the arts alliance and will take place at 6 p.m. April 20 and 3 p.m. April 21 at the Presbyterian Church in Leoti.

Tickets are a recommended $5 donation. The show will feature a "carry-in dinner" with audience members bringing different dishes for the Saturday night show.

Sunday afternoon's matinee will be carry-in desserts. The money raised will go toward helping arts funding programs in Wichita County, population 2,200.

This is the eighth year for the annual show, which alternates directors, actors and productions.

Janelle Downs, this year's play director, said it helps fund arts activities for adults and kids as well.

And it's fun.

"We really have a good time putting this on," she said.

In the play, Dr. Dogsbreath Devereaux plots to wed and do away with the wealthy widow Lotta Cash so he can inherit her fortune and her late husband's clinic. He enlists the aid of the nasty nurse, Hilda Hatchet, and promises to marry her once he disposes of Lotta. Problems arise when the insanely jealous Hilda catches Dogsbreath flirting with Wendy March, the show's heroine. Dr. Phil Good, the show's hero, may be the only one who can save Wendy and the unsuspecting Lotta from certain death.

"Set in a clinic filled with zany patients, this melodrama is sure to leave your audience in stitches," according to PioneerDrama.com.

Monday night in Leoti, the players sat around tables, discussing costume and scene ideas.

The creativity of the Wichita Arts Alliance members was abundant as they turned grocery store clerk aprons into nurse's uniforms and discussed thrift store items being turned into costumes and props.

Dorene Reimer, president of the arts alliance, plays Hilda Hatchet.

"I'm the lead villain," Reimer said, laughing.

Reimer said Hilda is very jealous, which is unlike Reimer.

"I really have to keep in character," she said.

Reimer said she enjoys taking part in the play.

"We just have such a fun time doing this. People who come and see it will feel that. I think people will enjoy seeing different people in the community come together to entertain," she said.

The night also will feature songs and acts by local performers.

Joan Ayers is the piano player who brings it all together.

"I like seeing the creativity that comes out in us regular folk. We really have to stretch ourselves. It's just nice to see our good friends and neighbors make us laugh," she said.

For more information, or to contact the alliance, visit Wichita County Arts Alliance on Facebook.

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