Any number can die, but not just any play can be this good

Avery Dunn

As I walked into the Black Box to see “Any Number Can Die,” what first stood out to me was the set. It was bright and colorful, yet there was a sort of eeriness to the lighting and a creepy set of doors. As the audience filed in, old Southern music played over the loudspeakers, setting the tone for the play.

“Any Number Can Die,” is a relatively lesser-known play set in the 1920s on a deserted island called Ravenshead off the coast of South Carolina. The Wilson production, which ran the weekends of March 8 and March 15, was also the directorial debut of performing arts teacher Dan Iwaniec.

Throughout the play, eight different characters with unique backstories come to an old mansion on the island for the reading of a rich man’s will. The play starts off with a newlywed couple who comes to Ravenshead on their honeymoon, discussing the backstory of the island and the murder that had occurred in the house in 1928. As the scene fades, a flashback takes you to the early 20th century, a time of speakeasies and prohibition.

One of the most vibrant characters was the Old Aunt Ernestine, played by junior Ella Schneider. Halfway through the play, Ernestine reveals herself as Agatha, an undercover detective. Following that plot twist, Schneider was very emphatic with her movements and facial expressions as she transformed into the detective.

The cast was very talented, but there were times when the actors spoke too fast for the audience to understand what they were saying. Another issue was that the play was so fast-paced that if you blinked, you missed something. While it was nice that the play was very action-packed, sometimes it was at the expense of the audience’s understanding of the plot.

The best aspect of the production was the lighthearted tone. Despite the fact that it was a murder mystery, the actors managed to play their roles convincingly, and that provided many well-needed laughs.