Former WKU professor directs murder mystery this weekend

Susan Hayter, of Bowling Green, who plays Grace Johnson in the Fountain Square Players upcoming performance of A Shot in the Yard, prepares for the plays upcoming performance at Wednesday night’s dress rehearsal. The play is running from Thursday, September 9 through Sunday, September 12 at the Phoenix Theater. TIM HARRIS/HERALD

Jacob Ryan

     The Fountain Square Players will be performing the murder mystery “A Shot In the Yard” this weekend at The Phoenix Theatre downtown.

    The theater is located at 545 Morris Alley.

    “This is a real murder mystery,” said Bill Green, a former adjunct professor of English at WKU, who wrote, produced and is directing the play.

    “A Shot in the Yard” is a story set in the Deep South at the turn of the 20th century and is filled with scandal and mystery, Green said.

     The audience is kept guessing along with the cast until all the clues come together for a “highly dramatic ending,” he said.

    Green found inspiration for his play from an old family legend that his father used to tell him as a young boy growing up in Alabama.

    “I’ve massaged it a bit,” he said. “The play is loosely based on my great-uncle being convicted of shooting my great-grandfather.”

      This is not the first play that Green has directed, but cast members said this performance is special because it’s an original work, written by the director himself.

    “We’ve performed many times,” said David Barrett, who portrays Jake, one of the main characters in the play. “This one is a little more personal, since it’s Bill’s.”

     He said the play’s plot is equivalent to that of an Agatha Christie novel.

    “There’s some killing, fighting, a hanging scene and a love scene,” he said.

    Rehearsals for the play began in December of 2009.

    “Working with the Fountain Square Players is really enjoyable,” said cast member Susan Hayter. “We work together on everything from costumes, set design and our lines.  It really is a community effort.”

     Marie Guthrie, an English professor at WKU and one of the founding members of the Players, said the group is a community within a community.

    “In a way, it’s the reason I was a theatre major, because I joined Fountain Square Players,” she said.

    The group performs five shows a year, Guthrie said.

    The Players have open auditions for any community member interested in being in the plays, she said.

    Performances will be Sept. 9 to Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.         

    Tickets are $14 and can be purchased at, according to the play’s flyer.