One Class’ Journey to Bring Sherlock Holmes to the Stage
by CAROLYN VENTER & SAMMY LOWE
As none of you know, the play A Study In Scarlet opens on Thursday, Nov 24th. This fresh new take on the classic Sherlock Holmes tale presents the story exactly as written, with a story improvisation twist .
We sat down with director Paul “Sparky” Johnson to ask him: What drew you to this particular story? “the short answer is the word scarlet. Because as you know the academic theme this year is colour.”
Apparently there is a different theme every year. “Oh a study in Scarlet, that’s kind of a Victorian Euphemism for Murder,” said Sparky alluding to the fact that this play has a lot to offer, including murder, Mormons, and French accents.
The play is put on by the 444 drama capstone. That being said, like Footloose, A Study in Scarlet features students of various majors including psychology and Math/Physics. But we did not interview them. Instead, we sat down with some Drama seniors in the class to ask them how the rehearsal process was going: “I’m not in this play,” said Amy Wright, sixth year drama major, “My Bad,” I scoffed, trying to shake off my deep embarrassment. Carolyn Venter, fifth year drama major, who plays Mormon wife number two, stated that she “loves theatre even though no one else does.” Great.
Sammy Lowe, who plays Sherlock Holmes, on the other hand, said “I think this production really showcases what the drama department can do.” When we asked Sparky about the rehearsal process he laughed: “It’s a challenge…that said, we’ve made the story manageable.” The entire play is put on using space work. An improvisation technique that forces actors to find the emerging where and utilize objects that aren’t physically present.
When Sparky was asked what he hopes audiences will take away from the production, he stated that “it should be intriguing for an audience not only to see the deductive powers Homes uses but also watch a little bit of the history of a religious sect –the latter day saints as they made their way to their promised land.”
If you have a friend in the play or you’re one of those people that likes being able to say you went to a play, come on out. The show plays at 7 pm on Nov. 24th, 25th and 26th Tickets can be purchased for 5 dollars for students and 15 dollars for adults. Hope to see you there (please come… seriously).