Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Hollow by Agatha Christie March 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 2016 at the Troy Civic Theatre Barn in the Park

From left to right--Robert Wilson as Sergeant Penny, Mike Rousculp as Gudgeon, Chuck Fox as Sir Henry Angkatell, Beverly Dines as Midge Harvey, Niccole SueAnn Wallace as Gerda Cristow, Jessica Suba as Veronica Craye, Steve Dietrich as John Cristow, Tanya Bundenthal as Henrietta Angkatell, Robert Hyer as Edward Angkatell, Sandy Ehrlich as Lucy Angkatell, Joan Smoke as Doris, and Gage Emerson as Inspector Colquhoun.

Tom, Pat, and I attended the Sunday Matinee of The Hollow.  The performance was within a few seats of being sold out.  The actors and actresses succeeded in creating more and more tension as the audience tried to pick out, first, who would be the victim, and second, who was the murderer.  The tension was broken at intervals by the comic relief of Doris, the apprentice maid, played by Joan Smoke and Lady Lucy Angkatell, played by Sandy Ehlich

The director, Jennifer Kaufman, did an excellent job of coaching the cast, shaping the cast into a cohesive group and fine-tuning the nuances of their lines.

In the lobby, The Hollows, a game similar to Clue was set up.  During intermission the audience was encouraged to guess who the murderer was.  There were cards with the characters' names on them they could take as their choice.  I didn't take a card because I had researched the play and knew the solution but  Pat made a guess.  The game was part of the fun. I was sorry I had "sneaked a peek" on the Internet.  I didn't expect to find the game in the lobby.  My advice to you...if you go to the play this coming weekend, don't check the Internet.  Have fun, instead.

I didn't go on line to find the solution.  I went on-line to learn whether The Hollow was the original name of the mystery.  Pat likes Agatha Christie Mysteries and has read most of them.  She didn't recognize the title.

The Hollow was published in 1946 as The Hollow in both the United States and the United Kingdom.  However in 1954, a paperback edition was published in the United States as Murder After Hours. Pat said she didn't recognize that title either.  She plans to go back and check through her collection.

Agatha Christie adapted the book into a stage play in 1951 and omitted Hercule Poirot who was in the book.  The version the Troy theatre presented is a classic version which is different from Agatha Christie's first and second versions and also different from the television movie version of 2004 which features David Suchet as Poirot.

Community theatre is fun for me partly because members of my family participate. My grandson, Robert Hyer, was Edward Angkatell in The Hollow.  And over the years I have come to know many of the other cast members as well.  I look forward to seeing their interpretations of each new character assigned to them.  The Troy stage veteran performers are Chuck Fox as Sir Henry Angketell, Sandy Ehrlich as Lucy Angketell, Mike Rousculp as Gudgeon, Joan Smoke as Doris, Niccole SueAnn Wallace as Gerda Cristow, Steve Dietrich as John Cristow, and Jessica Suba as Veronica Craye.

 Nearly always, there are some cast members new to the Troy stage.  They add freshness to the plays that would be missing if the cast always consisted of the same members.  In this play, the new to the Troy stage cast included Tanya Bundenthal as Henrietta Angkatell, Beverly Dines as Midge Harvey, Gage Emerson as Inspector Colquhoun and Rob Wilson as Sergeant Penny.

The next two performances are Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12.  Contact The Troy Civic Theatre by phone at 339-7700 or go to their Facebook page for information.

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