In the comedy Arsenic and Old Lace, drama critic Mortimer Brewster tells his fiancée, Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops. Hes not kidding. His two spinster aunts offer poisoned cocktails to lonely bachelors. Then they bury the bodies in the basement. Theyre the craziest family on the block, says Drew Barr, director of the Great Lakes Theater Festivals production, now playing at the Ohio Theatre. You cant believe how seriously dysfunctional they are.
In addition to the pair of murderous aunts, Mortimer also has two very loosely hinged brothers. One is a botched surgery victim who looks like Frankensteins Boris Karloff; the other thinks hes Teddy Roosevelt.
Barr pretty much retains the plays 1941 setting, but adds a few subtle, modern touches. Its a period piece that certainly alludes to the political and world situation [of the time], he says. But theres a strong sense of America at work in the play. Im trying to bring a little more of a present-day sensibility to the story. Its funny but real.
Sundays, 3 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Sept. 23. Continues through Oct. 21, 2007