In its first performance since renovations began, the Liberty Center Association for the Arts will present Agatha Christie’s murder-mystery “The Hollow” with a cast of 12 beginning this evening.
Chris Clark, a former LCAA board member and an actor in “The Hollow,” said the play has a varied cast with great characters that will keep the audience engaged. He added that he hadn’t been in a production for two years and was ready to wear an actor’s cap again, but also wanted to see the renovations at LCAA. Clark portrays Dr. John Cristow in the play.
“As an actor I hadn’t done a mystery in a long time,” said Clark, an 18-year veteran of the LCAA stage. “I had never been in a serious murder-mystery. I’d been in some comedy murder-mysteries before, but I’d never done an Agatha Christie.
“That’s bucket-list type stuff for an actor,” he added. “Part of it too was, I wanted to be one of the first people to get back in there with the renovation going on. The renovations and additions they are putting in over there are really exciting.”
Clark said he is amazed at the talent comprising the show.
“It’s a really good group of talented people,” he added. “They’re fun to be around, everybody gets along and works really well together. I think everyone has put forth a really good effort.”
He said he believed character development to be one of Agatha Christie’s writing virtues.
“I think that’s what makes Agatha Christie so great,” Clark noted. “There’s only so many plot twists you can write into murder-mysteries. The characters are what makes those things so interesting.”
The characters in the “The Hollow” take in a wide variety of people and social classes.
“Which is always interesting to to see and how it plays out,” Clark said.
Originally in Agatha Christie’s novel of the same name, she highlighted the well-known Detective Poirot, but in the adaptation for the play she omitted him.
“Poirot is a signature character for her,” Clark said. “When she adapted it to a play, she felt like Poirot would detract from the other characters in the story. “
Because of Poirot’s omission the play becomes a true “guessing game,” making it much more interesting for the audience to deduce who the real killer is among the characters. Clark said the killer is difficult to determine; they could be anybody.
“That’s the fun of it,” he added.
During the play the 12 characters try to outsmart each other and outsmart the detective assigned to the case.
“Everybody in one way or another has a little something to hide,” he said. “That’s the fun thing about it.”
Although the play is a serious murder-mystery Clark is impressed with the mild humor Agatha Christie throws in that balances the story-line.
“It’s just enough, and it’s just at the right time,” he added.
“The Hollow” Director Tom Eschbacher said the play is a must-see for those who love murder-mysteries.
“If you’re a fan of murder-mysteries, then you can’t do any better than an Agatha Christie novel or stage play,” Eschbacher said. “She is one of the best-selling authors of all time. If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie, this may be the only chance you’ll ever get to see ‘The Hollow.’
“It is one of her lesser known plays, yet it is classic Agatha Christie,” he added. “In fact, in ‘The Hollow’ the characters are so real and interesting that you get caught up in their personal stories and almost forget you’re watching a murder-mystery. So, the murder and the reveal of the killer come almost as an added bonus.”
Clark encouraged everyone to come out and not only see “The Hollow” but to see the renovations at LCAA.
“I think people will be very surprised when they walk in,” he added. “… The bathrooms are so much better. The inside of the theatre itself is so much more accessible … you don’t have to deal with stairs if you don’t want to.”
“The Hollow” will perform at LCAA, 111 W. Fifth St., today, Saturday and Sunday and March 11 through 13. Friday and Saturday shows will be at 7:30 p.m. with the Sunday shows at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 each. On Friday and Saturday nights LCAA will host a happy hour in the newly renovated lower floor lounge. They will serve Leprechaun Floats along with other beverages and popcorn.
Tickets can be purchased at LCAA from 9 a.m. to to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, online at wwww.lccasedalia.com or by calling the office at 827-3228.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.