First time director Zarrah Holvick doesn’t want to waste her time dabbling in derivative, but she hopes Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound, which is headlining this year’s Theatre Workshop One-Act series, doesn’t scare people off.
Not because of the mysterious murder plot, but because the plot structure is “a little different,” says Holvick.
The Real Inspector Hound is a quirky story that weaves satire and farce into a play-within-a-play structure, and provokes contemplation of the role of the critic in a production’s life. For better or worse.
The story unfolds with two theatre critics who watch a play about a murder mystery at Muldoon Manor and give candid reviews of the performance as it unfolds. But what appears to the audience like an ordinary play is suddenly turned on its head when the reviewers are pulled into the plot à la Purple Rose of Cairo.
“Characters shift roles and there are lots of surprise twists. It is a sort of organic thing as the play envelopes the critics with the intent to kill them, so they can’t have an effect on the play,” said Holvick.
Stoppard, an acclaimed playwright who co-wrote the movie Shakespeare in Love, was also a critic at one point during his career. His murder mystery farce of the who dunnit’ genre will run at the Playhouse every night during Theatre Workshop’s run of An Evening of Satirical Acts from April 2 to 5 and April 8 to 11.
“The One-Acts are a way for first-time directors to work with a mentor to develop a shorter show rather than being faced with the daunting process of putting together a full-length show,” said Holvick, who was paired up with local veteran director David Beairsto.
This year’s One Acts also hark back to a format that integrates high school productions into the program.
Presented in this year’s line up are two plays by students from Duchess Park and one each from College Heights and DP Todd.
“It’s been a long time since they’ve done it, but we’re excited because the high schools just came back from drama zones in Williams Like so they’ve already done runs of their shows,” said Holvick.
“I started theatre in high school and Theatre Workshop became a stepping stone so hopefully it will give the same opportunity for these students.”
From April 2 to 5 Duchess Park will present The Diary of Adam and Eve by Mark Buccic, a story of the battle of the sexes, and My Cup Ranneth Over, directed by Maurice Hurtubise. April 8 to 11 dates will present College Heights’ Ledge, Ledger & and Legend, by Paul Elliott, directed by Ray Masson, and DP Todd’s Zone Drama Festival-topper Clown’s Macbeth, by Wayne Anthoney and directed by local teacher Linda Riches, which earned them an invitation to the Provincial Drama Festival in May.
The Real Inspector Hound will run every night followed by an intermission and one of the high school plays. For complete listings call the Playhouse at 563-8401. Tickets are $10 and available at Studio 2880 and the UNBC Bookstore.