Nancy Cates is Guest Director for “And Then There Were None,” which runs Oct. 17 through Nov. 3 at Weathervane Playhouse.
What’s the perfect addition to the ghosts and monsters of Halloween? A classic thriller by the Queen of Crime! Dame Agatha Christie is the bestselling novelist of all time. With a over a billion copies of her works sold in English, and a billion in translation, she is outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. Dame Agatha adapted several of these stories for the stage, with one of the best being “And Then There Were None,” which we’re about to open at Weathervane Playhouse.
A little backstory: ten people are lured (under false pretenses, of course) to a house party on an island accessible only by boat. An ominous recording accuses each of terrible crimes. Then, one by one, the guests begin to die, in manners eerily similar to the poem hanging above the fireplace which starts, “Ten little soldier boys went out to dine, one choked his little self, and then there were nine,” and finally ends with, “one little soldier boy, left all alone, he went and hanged himself, and then there were none.”
The cast has been working with much excitement and even more precision rehearsing the hundreds of tiny details – the entrances and exits, the blown-out candles, the poisoned cocktails — required to reveal (or disguise!) the identity of the killer. Screaming, fainting, gunshots and deaths are nightly occurrences. The logical accomplishment of every moment (read: murder) fascinates me, probably coming from a lifelong affection for Mr. Spock. Everyone, cast, crew, and director, works together at each rehearsal to make sure we don’t make mistakes that might give too much away.
The cast of “And Then There Were None” is filled with wonderful, archetypal Christie characters. Longtime Weathervane vet Karen Wood, a sweetheart in real life, plays one of Agatha’s favorites: the nasty old spinster who is unpleasant to everyone. Mark Stoffer is the Inspector Lastrade-esque befuddled detective. While creating beautiful 1930s costumes, designer Jasen Smith plays the serving-man Rogers, who is not quite a butler, and who may or may not have done it.
There have been several different endings to the play over the years, and well as several more versions in the movie adaptations. Apparently Dame Agatha was always open to good counsel and change. All I’ll say is that the play’s end is NOT like the book, so don’t assume you know what will happen! If you’d like to find out who the villain was, you’ll have to join us at Weathervane for two hours of thrills and chills on a brisk October evening!
“And Then There Were None” runs Oct. 17 through Nov. 3. Tickets may be purchased by calling (330) 836-2626 or going to www.weathervaneplayhouse.com.