By: Patrick E. Phillips ~Arts & Entertainment Editor~
There were a lot of things go¬ing against the Xavier Players’ production of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.”
Due to limited performing space in Gallagher Student Center Studio Theatre, one wouldn’t think there would be space for 10 performers to be onstage at once.
Also, the space would not seem capable of meeting the demanding technical demands required in the shocking moments of the play.
However, Xavier Players’ production overcame each obstacle with surprising ease, making the first published production by the club a success.
“And Then There Were None” marked Xavier Players’ first production of a published, non-student written piece without the involvement of a university department.
Director Will Clemens found ways to fill the limited space, giving performers room while still creating an interesting stage picture, composed of a couch and three chairs.
Limited access to set pieces for the production made the set look a little mismatched. However, this did not deter from the performance. Clemens was able to have 10 characters onstage at once, without cluttering the image.
The actors did tend to be positioned in the same spots throughout the production, which limited their movements and made transition between scenes slightly hard to follow.
Alana Yurczyk’s lighting design was sparse yet effective, creating a ghostly ambiance.
Her design effectively enhanced many of the shocking surprises of the play.
Though some of the performances were hard to hear, Emily deKanter as Vera Claythorne and Paul Hogue as Judge Wargrave stood out within the cast.
DeKanter easily created a sympathetic Claythorne, using a full range of emotion as she desperately tried to discover the killer.
Hogue’s Wargrave was suave and deceptive, always waver¬ing in and out of the audience’s suspicion.
Praise must also be given to both deKanter and Hogue on their impressive and gritty fight choreography towards the end of the play.
Continuity was a major problem throughout the production. Many times throughout the play, characters would leave through one exit and enter through a completely different entrance, mud¬dling the image and confusing audience members.
This is problematic in a play where the audience is trying to keep track of each character’s path to discover the killer. The sound design also fell short, instead of supporting the dark atmosphere of the play.
The sound effects used throughout the production seemed as though they came from cartoons, turning one character’s death towards the end of the play into a moment of comedy, taking the audience out of the play at a crucial moment.
With “And Then There Were None,” Xavier Players success¬fully produced a published piece with only a few hiccups.
Now that the club is aware of the challenges of putting on a published play, its productions can only get better.
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