And Then There Were None, published in 1939, is perhaps the best-known detective novel ever written. Adapted many times over the years, it’s also Agatha Christie’s best selling novel and her most recognized. The novel tells the story of a group of ten strangers brought together and stranded in a grand house on an island. As they await their host, a record plays accusing each of being responsible for a series of deaths, from careless driving to suffocation. Tensions rise and suspicion builds until, one by one, the visitors are murdered in a way that follows the pattern of a nursery rhyme hung around the island house. The story presents a unique mixture of comedy and dread when the microcosm of society is forced to interact despite having lost the sense of trust that makes society possible.
Creston’s Footlighters Theatre Society is bringing the story to the stage, but with a modern twist. The play’s director, Gary Atha, has decided not only to dress the actors in modern costume but also to set the play on an island in the Georgia Straight. “The story takes place off the coast of Vancouver, on a private island without cell service. We’ve also adapted the language, which was very British and of the times,” said Atha. “But the play is just as effective as when it first hit the stage in the 1940s. The story is timeless.”
The director also wanted to balance the number of men and women in the story. “In the original story, there were more men than women, but we changed some of the roles. We had some really strong actresses audition and we didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity to have them in the play,” said Atha. “We also looked at how the characters interacted with each other in the original version, and how they might interact with each other today.”
Atha acted in the play in Abbotsford before moving to Creston three and a half years ago. “The reason I like this play, and enjoyed acting in it, is because you never know what’s going to happen. The audience is constantly guessing,” said Atha. “The larger cast and the twists and turns make the story so much fun. Though it is set on one small island, there is constant drama and intrigue.”
Atha is also excited to work with such an eager cast. “I’ve been acting for twenty years and part of the reason I decided to move to Creston was because of all the live theatre here,” said Atha. “The cast has been so great to work with. I’ve been in positions where I’ve had to go begging for cast members, and there were issues with showing up for practice, but this cast really wants to be here and they have such strong work ethic. It’s been so much fun to see the characters coming alive and interacting with each other.”
Directed by Gary Atha, the play stars Rudy Sager, Penny Reine, Gary Atha, Kate Webb, Chris Boehmer, Logan Thompson, Brian Lawrence, Kevin Boehmer, Suzanne Chubb, Ann Deatherage and Jennifer Dewald.
Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None runs from March 23-25. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Prince Charles Theatre. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for senior/students and $8 for children under 12. (The play contains dramatic themes that may not be suitable for young children.) Tickets are available at Creative Fix, Black Bear Books, and Kingfisher Used Books & Fine Coffee. Show your ticket at Real Food Café for a free dessert on show nights.