HESSTON — When a henpecked husband decides to kill his overbearing wife, what could possibly go wrong

Committing murder is not easy, as the characters learn in "Murder for Dummies," a play that will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 1 and 3 at Hesston High School.

"Things go awry in the play," said Tanner Browne.

Browne plays meek, book-loving Myron Bernhart, who becomes enraged when his wife tries to sell his book collection and buys a book entitled "Murder for Dummies."

"I love being Myron. It's a big change," Browne said. "This is what I think is going to get a lot of laughs out of people, because in the last performance I did, I was a very broad, intimidating person."

Playing a character requires altering his voice and mannerisms.

"Getting into character, for me, is the most fun out of all of this," Browne said. "...We get into character the instant we walk into the door."

"Murder for Dummies" has plenty of dark humor mixed with lighter comedy, which makes it the favorite show he has done, Browne said.

"You leave laughing, and that's kind of the best play I can imagine, when you leave and are still laughing," Browne said.

Baylie Owens plays Jobeth Wallenford, a member of the Civic Arts League that meets at the Bernhart's home.

"I like my character because she really likes food," Owens said. "She also gets offended very easily."

The ladies of the Civic Arts League are a unique and sharp-tongued group.

"It's really fun because there's a group of women and you think, in the beginning, 'OK, yeah, they're all good friends,' and then you just see them roasting each other," Owens said. "They just laugh about how much they can get a rise out of the other person."

Acting gives Owens a creative outlet in her life.

"I enjoy theater because life can be so stressful and you can come into a play and pretend to be someone, like, a totally different person, and get so many laughs out of it," Owens said. "It's so fun to be able to embody a different character."

The cast often laughs together during rehearsals.

"I have gotten so many more friends," Owens said. "...You just meet so many people and you become friends with people you wouldn't have (otherwise met)."

Erin Peters, who plays member of the Civic Arts League and hypochondriac Dewitt Gundlechuk, says those moments carry over outside of the theater.

"During the school day, someone can say something, and we'll look at the other cast members like, 'that's from the play,'" Peters said.

The cast are eager to share the show with an audience.

"It's just something that a person of any age can come and enjoy," Owens said. "...It's really fun to act through and be a part of."

Nealee Johnston directs "Murder for Dummies" and said the cast has put in many hours of effort over a shorter than usual rehearsal period.

"They've all worked hard on this," Johnston said. "We started this when we came back on Jan. 4 and our first performance is Feb. 1, so it's a quick turnaround."

Tickets for "Murder for Dummies" are $9 for premium seats and $5 for side seats and are available at the Hesston High School office, 200 N. Ridge Rd. in Hesston.

Cast List:

Myron Bernhart: Tanner Browne

Marge Bernhart: Ally Weaver

Dewitt Gundlechuk: Erin Peters

Jobeth Wallenford: Baylie Owens

Opaline Packer: Gina Nachtigal

Doreen Heller: Heaven Holub

Officer Burkett: Hannah Sweeley

Jack Havisham: Daniel Casimir

Lt. Tinkerton: Drew Hastings

Dinah Mumford: Grace Thompson

Serena Brown: Jessica Waggoner

Helga “Sis” Heindorff: Camryn Hastings

Book: Nathan Whitsitt

Madison Monroe: Zionna Wilder

Pete Bolivar: Nathan Baldauf

CSI/Detective/TV Announcer/Psych Krischan Johnson