For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Ackerman (701) 355-8002

BISMARCK, ND — “Dark, devious and delightfully droll,” that’s how University of Mary’s new Visiting Professor of Theater, Dan Bielinski, describes his unique interpretation of the longest-running play in history — Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.”

The Mousetrap, which has run continuously for 63 years on the West End in London, totaling over 25,000 performances, will come to Mary on Thursday, April 16, and Friday, April 17, 7:30 p.m., followed by a double feature Saturday, April 18, at 2 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., inside Arno Gustin Hall on the University of Mary campus. For a sneak peek check out this thrilling trailer created by Bielinksi and Marek Dojs (Doyce), associate professor of communication at Mary: theatre.umary.edu.

Using a pun that fits here, for Bielinski, there’s nothing like starting his new role with a “bang.” After all, this is Agatha Christie, so there’s plenty of room in this two-hour theater performance for simultaneously wielding prop pistols and candid comedy.

“The Mousetrap” features the perfect setting for a suspenseful murder mystery. While a blizzard rages outside, eight strangers trapped in a boarding house listen to a radio announcement that a murder has been committed in a nearby village. Then the lights go out, and a murder happens right in their midst. They realize that the murderer must in fact be in the house – the murderer is one of them. Unexpected alliances and bitter betrayals take place as the characters try desperately to save their own lives and keep their dark secrets hidden. When a policeman arrives from out of nowhere, he must work to discover who the murderer is before he or she strikes again. The only clue is that the murderer has an obsession with the children’s nursery rhyme “Three Blind Mice.”

“’The Mousetrap’ has wonderfully colorful, comical characters but, at the same time, it has a real menace and darkness to it,” said Bielinski. “This particular production will try to capture both the terrific sense of humor that Agatha Christie had, and also her real sense for the macabre and the less pleasant side of human nature. Often, when British period pieces are performed in the U.S., they become dry, lifeless, and dull. This won’t be the case for our production. I think both the student body and the community will be surprised by the humanity, humor, and rawness of our ‘Mousetrap.’ It will be a terrifically fun thriller, and I think our Bismarck audience will love it.”

“I think ‘The Mousetrap’ is an amazing play because there are so many character layers,” said Ann Borow, an English major from Winfield, IL, who plays Miss Casewell. “Every one of us has worked hard to embody these people, and to learn each part of them. I really enjoy playing my character because she has so much depth and is a strong, confident, and independent woman. I like to think that the two of us have many similarities, and that’s pretty awesome to.”

“It’s fun and frightening,” added Rachel Morrison, an elementary education major from Aberdeen, SD, whose character is Mollie Ralston. “This show has been running for more than 60 years. If it’s good enough to keep going for that long, it’s something you don’t want to miss.”

It’s for all those reasons and then some that Bielinski chose “The Mousetrap” as his premiere production at Mary. “I think it’s a piece that showcases how multi-faceted a theatrical production can be – how it can move audiences on so many different levels. I think ‘The Mousetrap’ is a piece that will make students fall in love with theater.”

Fall in love with theater, similar to the way Bielinski did as a senior in high school — not all that long ago. As an introverted teenager, he was reluctantly dragged into a production that suddenly allowed him to express himself creatively in ways he didn’t think possible.

“It was a liberating and thrilling experience,” added Bielinski, who earned his M.F.A. from Columbia University in New York City. “When I went to college, I started creating my own opportunities, directing and acting in my own university productions as well as in professional opera and regional theater.”

All that experience led to more and more opportunities for Bielinski as an actor and director in New York City (www.danbielinski.wix.com/actor). There, he co-starred in HBO’s “The Leftovers.” He’s had leading roles in feature films and television pilots and performed frequently in off-Broadway theatrical productions.

So, with so much already accomplished by this young actor and director, what drew him from the big stage of New York to the small stage of North Dakota and a new role at the University of Mary?

“I decided to take a few days to visit the school. I was blown away by its strong Catholic identity, the caliber of the students, and the dedication of the faculty,” stated Bielinski. “It is a truly beautiful place. The prospect of being a part of this remarkable vision became really attractive to both me and my wife.”

So, the curtain will rise once again on not only one of the world’s classic productions, but also on the new era of Daniel Bielinski — who’s trying to take theater production to a new level at the University of Mary based on his wide spectrum of experience and those same personal Christian, Catholic and Benedictine beliefs that lured him to this lead role on the prairie.