HCT Spins Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web for October



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The 2012-2013 season for the Henderson Civic Theatre begins with murder, mystery and a grand reopening on October 5 in downtown Henderson. The company has chosen to bring Agatha Christie’s 1956, “Spider’s Web” to life on the small community stage of the historic opera house.

Having seen many productions by the famed writer, choosing this play was easy for director and Longview native Nathaniel Olson.

“I grew up going to theater with my grandparents in Longview and this is a great play,” Olson said.

The original three-act play has been adapted for this company to a two act who-done-it mystery. The modernization of the 1950s play has been both fun and necessary for Olson and his directing team of Haley Morris and Colby Smith. Agatha Christie was known for detailed stage blocking and prop lists, but in community theater sometimes adaptation is needed.

“Look on the back of the play for the prop list. There may be 200 sometimes and some may be hard to locate.” Olson said.

Casting was a challenge as well. After the mid-July auditions, the cast was set, but injury, illness, and full-time work sidelined several cast members. Olson and his cast quickly fixed the problem and shrank the traditional eight-man, three-women cast to six man and five women. With the modernizing, it was easy to change the gender of some roles; look for a funny female Officer Jones to enter and exit stage with the inspector.

The crime drama is a mystery that centers on the murder of man in the home of Clarissa Hailsham-Brown and the ensuing cover-up. The group of friends and her young step-daughter all fall under suspicion as an evening of bridge becomes a chase to uncover the murderer in their midst.

The play stars local actress Ariel Chapman as Clarissa and has a cast of actors from around East Texas who are excited to be calling Henderson Civic Theatre home for this play.

“This is a small theater and makes an adult play like this fun to watch.” Olson said.

The company is also preparing for the annual melodrama during the Henderson Heritage Festive (known for many years as The Syrup Festival). “Double Take at Beatrice’s Boarding House” will host auditions October 1-2 at the theater at 7 p.m. Melodrama director Alexa Duke needs both speaking and non-speaking players as well as some folks to do a talent show within the show. For more information, call her at 903.649.1684.

“Spider’s Web” will run for two weekends in October: Oct. 5-7 and 12-14 with Friday and Saturday evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m. Opening night will also mark the unveiling of the newly remodeled lobby for the historic Opera House at 122 E. Main. For more information, call 903.657.2968 or go to www.hendersoncivictheater.com.

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