Ten strangers are summoned to a remote island off the English coast, under various pretenses, but all promised a fun getaway.
However, within hours, the deaths begin, and the characters’ hidden pasts are slowly revealed as the tension builds. Who is behind the madness, can anyone be trusted, and will any of them make it home alive?
Hart High Theatre Department is presenting “And Then There Were None,” arguably mystery writer Agatha Christie’s most popular work. The show runs April 27-29 at the Hart High Auditorium.
“And Then There Were None” was written as a novel in 1939, and has subsequently been performed on stage and screen countless times, including a 2015 BBC miniseries. It’s the best-selling crime novel of all time.
In the play, the characters – including a doctor, a judge, two military veterans and a nervous secretary – are told to come to Soldier Island for a house party. But it’s quickly revealed that the characters all share an unpleasant secret that connects them to each other.
When the first death occurs, suicide is suspected. With the second, natural causes. But then, how is it that the figurines on the mantle keep breaking, one by one, at the same time each death occurs? And why hasn’t that boat returned to ferry them back safely to the mainland?
“What I love with Agatha Christie is her character development,” said Jarod Spradling, Hart’s theater teacher. “The most appealing thing is, the audience is getting to participate – actively, continually trying to solve a puzzle – while being entertained. I think that’s a lot of fun. This was the escape room before there were escape rooms.”
Spradling said his students are producing an updated take on the classic story: They’ve moved the setting forward 20 years, utilized some female actors in male roles, and featured “characters that you wouldn’t normally see in this era, being comfortable in this era.”
“I think it’s going to be fun for everybody,” Spradling said.
Student actors said it’s been equally enjoyable for them, as many of them love the genre and the opportunity to entertain and surprise their audience.
“I love it,” said Sam Kort, a Hart junior who plays police officer William Blore. “I’ve always been interested in murder mysteries – I always watch (them) with my dad, so it’s pretty cool being in one. You never know who the killer is, and who will get killed next. (There are) a bunch of twists and turns, and something could be a red herring. … It gets confusing, and then everything makes sense in the end. I think (the audience is) going to love this show.”
“And Then There Were None” will run on the Hart Auditorium stage April 27, 28 and 29 at 7 p.m., and April 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets ($8 students, $10 seniors/veterans, $12 general) can be purchased at the door or online at harttheatre.booktix.com.