Dare We Say Bimbo?
Calaveras Enterprise Column 02/17/04

By Antoinette May Herndon

“Dare We Say Bimbo?’

Having been both a murderer and a murderee, you could say Cyndie Menard’s been around. Currently, mystery buffs can catch her as the catalyst who triggers a double murder and a suicide.
It’s all in the acting game for the ongoing star of Columbia’s City Hotel Weekend Murder Mystery.

“Dead Games,” Menard’s current vehicle is interactive theater at its best. Menard appears as Finch, a lounge lizard weary of singing for her supper. Her dream of starting a casino with her husband, Filo, draws a weird assortment of characters who, in turn, attract murder and mayhem.

Weekend guests wine and dine with the cast picking up clues along the way. Besides enjoying divine food prepared by Columbia’s Culinary Arts School, they sometimes solve the crime.
It’s a winning combination that’s been going on for 15 years. Menard has been part of the team for the past nine. Last weekend she stepped out of character long enough to let me interview her.

Not too surprisingly, the actress’ most memorable experience occurred when she was murdered. “Just as I was ‘shot’ in the head in front of the City Hotel, a group of tourists in a horse and buggy trotted by. “Another actor was really into his part. Instead of explaining to them, he yelled, ‘Oh, my god, she’s been shot!’ Not one man but two was on his cell phone in seconds dialling 911. Before long we were telling it to the sheriff. Not so funny.”

Exhilarating as all that was, Menard preferred being a murderer. “It was a real change of pace for me,” she explains. “I always play the glamorous—dare we say, bimbo?—roles. This one was quite different. I was a shy nerd. Guests reacted to me in a gentle, sympathetic way. They reached out to me, tried to draw me into conversations, get me to dance. Everyone was so sweet, it was touching.”

You can still catch Menard in “Dead Games” Feb. 27—29 or March 6—8. But here’s the really exciting news: Cyndie Menard will soon be appearing at a theater near us. Very near. Menard is part of the new Shoe String Productions

Co-op. Its founder, Zeke Shearer, has cast her in another great bimbo role—Audrey in “A Little Shop of Horrors.” The play will open April 10th at Mok Hill’s Town Hall.

“I’ve wanted to play Audrey for years and its wonderful to be back with Zeke again,” the actress says. “I was in a number of his Metropolitan Players productions.” Localites may remember Menard as Cherie in the 1995 performance. “Bus Stop” presented at the Leger.

More recently, she’s appeared in many of Graham Green’s Murphys Creek Theater plays. Most notably Babe in “Crimes of the Heart,” Molly in “Tom ones” and Clarice in “A Servant of Two Masters.”

On a more personal note, the actress lives in Wallace with her husband, Louis, a French Canadian hocky player. They have three children, Pandora, 13, Quinton, 10, and Chandler, 4.

Summing up her career thus far, she says, “Of all the performances I’ve done over the years, playing a mom is my best role yet.”


Cyndie Menard playing soon at a theater near you