A heroine who’s lost her memory. A lovestruck hero who wants to marry her. A vile villain hidden behind a screen, swearing to take the fortune and keep these two lovebirds apart forever.  Alas! Alack! Whatever shall we do? At StageCenter Theatre’s production of the melodrama “Caught in the Villain’s Web,” you simply won’t be able to help yourself from hissing, booing and throwing popcorn. And that’s exactly what they’re hoping for! On weekends from July 25 until August 10, you and your family can get involved in the drama, intrigue, and yeah, maybe even a little popcorn throwing. 

The epitome of melodrama, “Caught in the Villain’s Web” is extravagantly fun and engages the audience fully with the swooning emotions of its over the top characters. It’s so engaging that Director Jennifer Hargis says the play fosters that combination of actor performance and audience participation. “Melodramas are so interactive that, since each audience is different, each show is different, and it’s like a mutually beneficial relationship that the actors have with the audience for a short time every night.”

“Caught in the Villain’s Web,” written by Herbert E. Swayne, tells the story of nurse Felicity Fair, our heroine, who is sent to a mansion to tend to the devious high-society matron, Mrs. Regina Larkfield. During her alleged illness, Regina uses her ailing health to manipulate her son, Malvern, into marrying the equally manipulative Nella Hargrave. 

Once Felicity arrives at the Larkfield mansion, she locks eyes with Malvern, and at that moment, he falls in love. The only problem is, Felicity has amnesia and can’t remember any details from her life prior to five years ago. Is she married? Is she single? How can she know? 

Our villain, Cyril Bothingwell, sees this as an opportunity to take advantage of the situation. He positions himself behind a screen to listen in on the conversation, and comes up with a diabolical plan to keep the two apart— by announcing that he’s Felicity’s husband! Audience, this is your cue! Get ready to throw that popcorn! 

 With all the times you’ve told your kids to pick up after themselves, especially in public, this is one time when making a mess is encouraged as a way to enter into the spirit of the drama. “For those who wish to introduce their children to live theatre, this is a great opportunity,” Hargis says. “The kids will be up past their bedtime, but they will have the time of their lives!”

Bring out the whole family to see this silly show and get in on the fun! Those with peanut allergies should be aware that there is a scene in the show that open jar of peanut butter is used as a prop. Tickets for Thursday performances are $10, and for Friday and Saturday shows, tickets are $15 each. There are even $12 tickets for seniors and students! You can purchase tickets at the door at StageCenter’s new home in Downtown Bryan, 218 N. Bryan Ave or online at http://bit.ly/2O2Eddq