Mystery, evil and a search for mythical creatures will take the stage at Hanover College this weekend as students show their writing and acting skills.

 "Cryptos," written by Hanover College senior James Wylder, combines fantasy, mystery and humor in a two-act play set in a Wyoming town. The play tells the story of a cryptozoologist and his assistant in search of the Loch Ness Monster before they find themselves solving a darker mystery of children stolen from their isolated village.

A fascination with cryptozoology over the past few years and an increase of publicized apocalyptic and end-of-the-world beliefs this year led Wylder to research the two subjects highlighted throughout the play. Even though he had been working on the project for a little less than two years, Wylder's interest and research eventually led to a two-act play for a theater class during the last school year.

"It's just came in bits and pieces," Wylder said. "It was actually two different play ideas."

As the author of the play, Wylder helped actors throughout rehearsals prepare for their roles by explaining the details of his characters and providing insight from his research about groups of people portrayed in the production.

"A lot of what I've been doing...is fixing the lines that sound funny," he said.

Still, the production of the play came together quickly with rehearsals for the play just taking place over the last few weeks, he said.

"Cryptos" isn't the first time Wylder's work will be showcased on Hanover's stage. He was part of the cast in two previous plays at the college and also had two of his one-act plays performed last year during the 10-minute play productions.

As with any stage creation, differences between the author's original ideas and the actual production may vary slightly, and Wylder said there are some changes between what he envisioned for the play while writing it and what it looks like on stage.

"A lot of things in the play are different than I imagined it," he said, but he doesn't consider that a bad thing. "I'm really happy with the way it deals with evil."

The play does address some darker topics, but those concepts allowed Wylder to draw from previous writings and play productions to mix humor and evil into one production.

With this play, he learned he "could make something dark, but not cut out the laughter," he said. "To make people understand something darker, you have to make them laugh."

The play deals with topics that could be considered scary and can be a bit scary at points when portrayed on stage, Wylder said. Parents should be aware of their child's tolerance when viewing the production.

"Cryptos" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Hanover College's Parker Auditorium. A Saturday matinee will be performed at 2 p.m. The production is directed by Hanover College professor Mark Fearnow.

Tickets for the show are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors age 65 and over, and $5 for children under the age of 18. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the Hanover College Box Office at 812-866-7110.