AND THEN THERE WERE NONE
And Then There Were None, also known as Ten Little Indians, has been thrilling and chilling audiences since 1943. Although classified as a drama, it is not devoid of humor. Eight guests, who have never met each other or their apparently absent host and hostess, are lured to an island off the coast of Devon. Marooned there with two house servants, they begin, mysteriously, to die. This is not only a “whodunit?” but also a “howdunnit?"
Thomas Rogers--Jim Wright
Mrs. Ethel Rogers--Vicky Richardson
Fred Narracott--Scott Hunter
Vera Elizabeth Claythorne--Donna Hunter
Philip Lombard--Michael Henry Carter
Anthony James Marston--Elijah Laprise
William Henry Blore--Mike Applegate
General John Gordon MacKenzie--Russ Giles
Emily Caroline Brent--Peggy George Kilburn
Justice Lawrence John Wargrave--Alan Pugh
Dr. Edward George Armstrong--Justin Tarlton
October 28 & 29 and November 4 & 5 at 7:30pm;
Sunday Matinees October 30 & November 6 at 2:30pm
Sunset Theatre, 234 Sunset Avenue, Asheboro, NC
Tickets: $15 Adults, $12 Seniors and Students
For tickets, call 336-629-0399
Only cash and checks accepted at the door.
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To put together a modern adaption of a play by William Shakespeare, craft must be applied – craft in three senses: the sense of skill, the sense of slyness, and the sense of the ability to make things from scratch.
For Geri Bressler’s edition of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, literary skill, crafty interpretation of the text, and stagecraft were evident in abundance. A fine cast, with Scott Murkin as Petruchio and Mary Moorhouse as Katharina – with Dan Bressler, Brandon Rancourt, Russ Giles, Travis Walsh, Bethany Kidd, Shannon Lowe, Makayla Hunter, and Tammy Wilcox in high support – used a script prepared by Ms. Bressler especially for this presentation.
The words of a play by the Bard are literarily sacred. One does not lightly mess with a masterpiece. Geri was not only the director of this production, but the editor as well. With an understanding of modern audiences firmly in mind, she had, with intelligence and grace, altered the play to be shorter. This is to make a picnicking audience more comfortable and to remove obscure references that are not otherwise explained. It’s quite a task to treat the words with the honor they deserve while retaining the humor and the zip of the original.
The plot was designed by the Shakespeare to confuse the audience for the purpose of humor, but too much confusion can be, well, confusing. So the show – a five-act play in its original form – is a slim two-acter that will, with intermission, fall within the space of two hours easily.
The second type of craft in evidence involved the overlaying of modern values onto 400-year-old sensibilities. Doing Shakespeare in modern dress was one of the grand innovations of the 20th Century, but doing Old Bill in a themed modernity is downright foxy. For this, Geri had taken the spirit of the latter part of the Swing Era and set it upon the characters who disagree so volubly and with such memorable lines in their settings of Verona and Padua.
Rosie the Riveter (Katharina) was thrust against a man who would tell her she is a mere woman (Petruchio). This, of course, ignited Shakespeare’s in-thy-face explosion between the two. The actors used this framework to add to the hilarity of the play and to give the relationships between characters a modern resonance. It is a simple device, but one that is easy to understand. The device also served as a basis for costumery. Putting the characters into an era of known style simplified the design process. When Kate donned her black wedding dress, she not only looked regal, but uncannily like the Duchess of Windsor, so familiar from the ‘30s to the ‘80s.
The third area of craft, that of stagecraft, paid homage to tradition of the Shakespearean stage. Some old methods are actually slicker than more modern ones. A bit about the Globe, Shakespeare’s home theatre: In the Liberty of Clink (The Clink, as the area was called, was the site of a prison, which we still refer to today when we speak of someone being “in the clink.”) on the banks of the Thames, across from the city of London, there once stood a three story O-shaped building, open in the center. This was the Globe Theatre. If the flag was flying, there was a play in progress.
The Globe had no electricity, other than that generated by the drama of the plays presented. Most of the up to 3,000 attendees stood for four hours or more to watch because it cost less. Some paid a little more and sat in galleries. Some supported the plays with patronage and were permitted to sit on the stage.
The playing area was extremely flexible, more so than most theatres today. The stage was thrust out into the standees. There was a trapdoor in the floor for effects that needed to rise; there was a device for lowering set pieces from the heavens; there were upstairs windows to shout from; there were main floor doors to represent exterior doors; there were more than ten separate playing areas that allowed the action to flow at a brisk pace without tedious set changes or curtains to stanch the flow.
It is in this tradition of stagecraft that the RSVP production is designed. Onstage throughout are sets representing the main locations with additional spaces, thus obviating the need for taking bulky furniture off and on. The show must only go on, but it must give the audience the comfort of flow. What you see is very little, but when the audience suspends its disbelief, a functional reality is created.
Each year the audience increases in size and enthusiasm for RSVP’s Shakespeare performances. They are free; they are at a convenient time; they are exciting; and they have a gravitas, even with humorous work, that makes for very thoughtful family entertainment.
Article courtesy of GET THIS!, written by Philip Shore.
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RSVP's 2016-2017 Season