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Winter Play Preview: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Elias Jarvinen ’19


Eight murderers, five detectives, and a dozen lovers are all a part of Woodberry’s comedic production this winter. It is a unique choice due to its unpredictability and audience-oriented style.

The name of this year’s musical is The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It is a murder mystery based on the book of the same name by Charles Dickens. Rupert Holmes was confronted with a challenge when writing his musical interpretation of the story, due to Dickens’ death before the book’s completion, an untimely occurrence which left its ending unknown. Instead of writing the ending himself, Holmes left it up to the audience to choose. Thus, each night of production the different sections of the audience will vote on an ending, and then the total from these sections will determine the finale. That way, no one will know the ending until it is revealed on stage. Because of this, different characters may or may not have solos depending on the vote. This will result in a different show every night, making for an interesting twist on the normal Woodberry Drama experience.

Not only will the audience influence the musical, but they will also be a part of it. This show is very interactive compared to those normally performed here at Woodberry. The cast will have to play off the audience, making it even more difficult.

“The complicated ending and difficult music make it a challenge, but the challenge is what makes it fun,” noted Mr. Blain, the play’s director.

Thomas Rowland, who plays the important role of John Jasper – an opium-addicted choirmaster – also commented on the difficulty of the play. “This was the first time in a Woodberry production for many in the group, and the singing and choreography were very hard and kind of awkward at first,” he said. He then praised the veteran girls who come from the local area to join the cast, saying that they have been a huge help, especially with those who only have little drama experience.

Despite the challenge of this musical with its extra lines and songs, Mr. Blain is very happy with how hard his cast has worked. He praised them, saying “they are loaded with talent, and committed too.”

Mr. Blain said he would also like to thank Mr. Hornady, Mr. Stakem, Mrs. Sydnor, Mr. Houyoux, and Mr. and Mrs. Cirves, who all have been working diligently behind the scenes to get this show up and running. This will be the first time this musical has been performed at Woodberry, and it has been much anticipated.

The shows starts at 8:00 p.m. this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, February 15-17, but get there early to get good seats and participate in the voting. To everyone going, enjoy the show, and to the members of the cast, break a leg!

 

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