This show runs approximately 2 ½ hours with two intermissions.
The Vikings play at home on November 21 so you may need extra time to find parking.
Opening Night Reception: There will not be a reception following opening night due to ongoing health concerns.
The House will open 30 minutes Before curtain for seating. Seating for this show is general admission. The back lobby will open 45 minutes before curtain. There will be no concessions or alcohol sales for this show. The box office and front lobby will be open 60 minutes before curtain.
Post Show Discussion: We will not be having a post-show discussion for this show.
Warnings: There will be recorded gunshots and simulated cigarette smoking in this production
Audio Description for visually impaired patrons will be offered on Sunday December 19th.
Click here for a list of ACCESS SERVICES at TRP.
About the Show
(company members are listed at the bottom, following the interview with the director)
An announcement in the local paper states the time and place when a murder is to occur in Miss Blacklock’s Victorian house. The victim is not one of the house’s several occupants, but an unexpected and unknown visitor. What follows is a classic Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities, a second death, a determined Inspector grimly following the twists and turns, and Miss Marple on hand to provide the final solution at some risk to herself in a dramatic confrontation just before the final curtain.
Interview with the Director
Director Brian Joyce is rehearsing the second show of our 70th season, Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced. The show performs weekends Nov. 19-Dec. 19, 2021. Christie’s been a regular feature of our arena for years, and so has Brian. This is his fourth time directing in the arena following Black Comedy, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and Christie’s And Then There Were None. He’s also acted at TRP productions of The Matchmaker, Born Yesterday and A Few Good Men. Outside our arena, Brian’s director credits include shows for Theatre Coup d’Etat and New Native Theatre. And, an actor since the age of four, he has performed at Park Square, Red Eye, Gremlin, Lakeshore Players, New Native Theatre, Turtle Theater Collective, Lex/Ham and Shakespeare & Co.
Q: Performing artists have all been challenged over the past 18 months or so to find employment and/or creative outlets for their talents. How have you been keeping the creative spark alive, either as an artist or audience member?
BRIAN: I did several virtual play readings and watched a few as well.
Q: What are the highlights of the past months for you?
BRIAN: I got to spend a lot of time with my grandson Walter. I was fortunate to stay employed throughout.
Q: TRP has been performing Christie plays on a regular (annual) basis for years, and draws a devoted following from actors to designers to audiences who all connect with her shows. Given your history with Christie, why do you think she has such staying power with audiences and actors?
BRIAN: I’ve directed And Then There Were None at TRP and also The Mousetrap and Witness for the Prosecution for other theaters. Her plays are fun to watch and great who mysteries. I like working on her shows because they are well written, have interesting characters and good plot twists.
Q: Do you have a prior history with this particular Christie play?
BRIAN: First time directing this one!
Q: What would you say are the special features of TRP’s arena that make it so suitable for performing Christie shows?
BRIAN: Nothing at TRP makes it suitable or more suitable then other places. It does however add some complexity. The round means everything that happens is visible to the audience. It means being creative in staging for some effects in her plays.
Q: As always, an unsolved murder is central to the plot. And in this show, the detective (Craddock by name) enlists the help of Miss Marple to solve the mystery. Talk about the Marple character. What are her salient characteristics?
BRIAN: Miss Marple is not a detective, she is a neighbor with strong insights into human nature. She loves gossip, gardening and being busy…Then of course Miss Marple is a woman doing a man’s job as it was seen in the 1950’s.
Q: You had a strong turnout for auditions and I understand your cast is a combination of TRP alums and some new faces, too. Care to highlight any aspect of your casting? Are there tricks to performing in our arena that the more seasoned actors will be able to help the newbies sort out?
BRIAN: I try to always find the best actor for a role. We had more then 80 folks audition and as a director I then do my best to cast a show in a way that reflects the playwright’s vision. I also like to work with actors I know and new people I have never worked with. I like to stay fresh by being always having a part of every cast I work with being new.
Q: One of the conceits of this play is that a murder is not only Announced, but actually takes place right before the audience’s eyes! And in an arena! If you can not give away any spoilers, anything you’d like to say about how your company and designers are handling the technical challenges of performing this show in the round?
BRIAN: We will not give any hints but being in the round means we must all work together to make ensure we keep the mystery and not give away the killer.
Q: For our audiences who have also been away for some time, are there any new features or processes, or etiquette, etc. that you’d like to call attention to for their awareness and greater comfort as they return to theater and TRP?
BRIAN: TRP will be requiring proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks. All crew, talent and theater staff will be doing the same. Actors off stage will wear masks. Other provisions are in discussion and things may change depending on guidance from the CDC.
Q: Any closing remarks?
BRIAN: I am excited to be back in the directors chair at TRP, excited for the return of live theatre and hope our audiences find there way back to the arena. Live theater is the most dynamic form of entertainment and connects audience and performer in ways nothing else can do.
Edmund Sweetenham Corey Boe
Rudi Sherz Zach Christensen
Sergeant Mellors Christopher J DeVaan
Dora Bunner Barbara Franklin
Julia Simmons Sarah Furniss
Letitia Blacklock Meri Golden
Miss Marple Jane Hammill
Mitzi Shara Marquez
Phillipa Haymes Simone Reno
Patrick Simmons Eric Riner
Inspector Craddock Erik Steen
Mrs. Sweetenham Katie Wodele
ARTISTIC & PRODUCTION STAFF
Director: Brian Joyce
Set Designer: Greg Vanselow
Costume Designer: Rebecca Karstad
Lighting Designer: Mark Kieffer
Sound Designer: Robert Hoffman
Prop Designer: Robert Smith
Stage Manager: Amanda Oporto
Ass’t Stage Manager: Jamey Olsen
Dialect Coach: Benjamin Slye