Monday, September 5, 2011
A Riddle Wrapped In a Mystery at The Sherman Playhouse Sept. 9 - Oct. 1
The Sherman Playhouse will debut the classic mystery-drama, AN INSPECTOR CALLS, by J.B. Priestly on Friday, September 9 at 8:00 p.m. The play is scheduled for a four-week run.
AN INSPECTOR CALLS takes place in 1912 in an English industrial city, where a young girl commits suicide and an eminently respectable British family is subject to a routine inquiry in connection with the death. An inspector calls to interrogate the family, and during the course of his questioning, all members of the group are implicated lightly or deeply in the girl's undoing. The family, closely knit and friendly at the beginning of the evening, is shown up quite differently by the night's end in the play's strange and mysterious conclusion.
"When the play is set, prior to World War I, big business and the upper-class – represented by the Birling family – run the world’s mightiest empire," said director Laura Gilbert of New Milford. "And then the mysterious 'Inspector' shows up, a working-class girl is found dead, and that's when the mysterious questions arise: Is the girl in all the characters' confessions the same girl? Is there in fact a dead girl at all? And is the inspector really a policeman? The play just keeps you guessing."
"The play is brilliant because it's a political statement disguised as a melodramatic thriller," said producer Katherine Almquist of Sharon, who also portrays Mrs. Sybil Birling. "The play opened in Moscow in 1945 at the end of World War II. And [playwright] Priestly was an avowed socialist. So there is definite social commentary here, but first and foremost it's a classic drama that provokes audiences to leave the theater talking, and even more importantly, questioning."
Along with Almquist, the cast features some of the region's finest actors: David Fejes (New Fairfield), Quinn Uniacke (Sherman), Ben Grinberg (New Preston), Heather Mock (Danbury), and Robin Frome and Alex Echeverria (both New Milford).
In addition to producer/performer Almquist and director Gilbert (who also designed the set), the show's crew includes lighting designer Peter Petrino, costumer Terry Hawley, and stage manager David Almquist.
AN INSPECTOR CALLS was first performed in 1945 in two Moscow theatres. The play had its first English production in 1946 at the New Theatre in London starring a young Alec Guinness. The play opened on Broadway at the Booth Theatre on October 21, 1947 and was also adapted into a 1954 film starring Alastair Sim as Inspector Goole. Variety called Priestly's work "An engaging play…Its mood is sustained throughout, so that it is practically always interesting."
AN INSPECTOR CALLS runs September 9,10 16,17,18 23,24 30 and October 1. Curtain time is 8:00 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays, with a 2:00 p.m. Sunday matinee on September 18. Tickets for all shows are $20 for general seating.
On Thursday, September 8, all patrons are invited to attend a "Half-Price Preview Night" at 8:00 p.m. where all tickets are only $10. Students may see any performance for only $10 if they pay in cash only at the door and carry a valid student ID. Students may not make reservations in advance for a performance. On September 9, an opening night party will be held after the show, complete with wine and hors d'oeuvres.
Reservations can be made online at www.shermanplayers.org or by calling the box office at (860) 354-3622. The Sherman Playhouse now accepts credit card payments both online and at the door.
The Sherman Playhouse is a local, non-Equity theatre company located on 5 Route 39 North (next to the firehouse) in Sherman, Conn.