In time for Halloween festivities, Masque and Gown is staging the classic murder mystery “And Then There Were None” written by Agatha Christie and directed by Sabine Carrell ’13 this weekend.
The play is a stage adaptation of Christie’s book by the same name— one of the bestselling novels of all time. The plot centers around 10 people who are lured to an island for various reasons, only to be murdered one by one.
“It’s a psycho thriller in a way because they’re all just kind of trapped, and you see how this affects their mind, that they know this killer is on this island and that they can’t get off,” said Carrell.
This production is one of Carrell’s first attempts at directing, and she said she has had a smooth experience, thanks to the classes she has taken in the theater department at Bowdoin.
Carrell pitched the play to the leaders of Masque and Gown as an entertaining production that would give variety to the material the organization usually chooses, and would not require prior knowledge of theater—she herself is a history major.
Trevor Murray ’16 has been in several Bowdoin theater productions and appreciates the play’s break from the standard Masque and Gown material.
“It’s been a very interesting production, because the format of the murder mystery lends itself to theater very well but also in a very unique way,” said Murray. “The pacing is very jarring but in a really cool way.”
In its advertising for the show, members of the board made an appearance at both dining halls earlier this week to act out “flash murders.” This generated minor confusion and worry that something was actually awry, but also piqued the interest of potential show-goers.
Masque and Gown is using Wish Theater for this performance, which gives the cast and crew the opportunity to make use of a smaller, more intimate room.
“It lends itself to a lot of creative things,” said Murray. “If you’re in the front row you’re no more than five feet from the actors. For a show like this, it’s a perfect kind of atmosphere.”
Lead cast members include Molly Knox ’15, James Jelin ’16, Trevor Murray ’16 and Chase Gladden ’17.
The cast is heavily composed of first years and sophomores, and has been the first college production for some of the younger members. Gladden noted the differences in working with Masque and Gown compared to his high school theater program.
“Working with a student director has been different because they’re kind of on the same level as you compared to an adult director,” said Gladden.
James Jelin ’16, who plays William Henry Blore (an undercover detective in the play), lauded the student body’s theatrical talents.
“Every semester I’ve always thought, ‘this play they’re not going to find the right people for’ and every time there always seems to be the exact right number of actors to play the right roles,” said Jelin.
Despite the large proportion of younger students, the cast and crew are distributed across the four class years, and include some veterans. Although there is a gap in experience, the members have all grown close over the last couple of months.
“We were actually worried coming into this past week—tech week—because the cast is so close and so chatty. We were afraid everyone would just want to joke and hang out,” said Erin McKissick ’16, the show’s stage manager.
The set design promises dramatic intrigue for the audience as well.
“We have these windows just suspended in air that really [create] this feel of a room,” said McKissick. “We also are doing some special lightning and thunder sound effects and lighting cues that creates a stormy vibe at one point in the show.”
The crew has also put together a technical mystery for the audience to solve: As the cast characters die off, soldier boys on the mantle fall over one by one.
“We have a secret way of knocking them over so that they just tip,” said McKissick. “It looks like they’re being knocked over by this other force.”