George School Theater Students Perform Mystery/Thriller
Friday, November 2, 2007
The Theater Performance class at George School will perform Postmortem—a mystery/thriller by acclaimed playwright Ken Ludwig—on Friday, November 2, and Saturday, November 3, 2007, at 8:00 p.m. in Walton Center Auditorium. The shows are free and open to the public.
Although the plot of the play is fictional, the main character and the setting are not. The protagonist, William Gillette (1853–1937), was an American actor and playwright famed for his onstage portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, and Postmortem is set in his Connecticut home—a medieval castle that the actor designed himself. In the play, which takes place in 1922, an offstage murder mystery develops when Gillette and the cast of his most recent Sherlock Holmes production spend a weekend in his castle. In preparation for the George School production, theater teacher and director Maureen West, production designer Scott Hoskins, and acting coach David Abers took the cast on a trip to Gillette's castle in East Haddam, Connecticut.
Victor Luong (a senior from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam) plays the role of Gillette. He said that visiting the elaborate estate—which includes secret passageways and a small railroad—gave him new insight into the actor's personality. "He designed the whole castle himself," Victor said. "He has more ego and confidence than I had thought." In the course of the play, Gillette—whom Victor describes as logical, emotionally restrained, playful, and solitary—takes on the role of a detective in his real life when he suspects that someone in the castle is trying to murder him.
Lilias Brinton (a senior from Dyke, Virginia) said that the trip to the castle helped her to prepare for her role as well. "It helps you to imagine that you're actually there when you're onstage," she commented. Lilias plays May, a member of the Sherlock Holmes cast who has her own reasons for trying to solve the mystery. "She's kind of sneaky," Lilias said. "She asks a lot of questions."
Caroline Marris (a senior from Merchantville, New Jersey) portrays Louise, a medium who leads a séance arranged by Gillette. Caroline described the play as "incredibly funny" and observes that her fellow cast members' roles differ in many ways from their offstage personalities. "Each character brings out a really different part of everyone's personality," she said.
As with all mainstage productions at George School, costumes are by Liz Lukac, and sets are designed by Scott Hoskins and built by his Stagecraft classes.