|Karen Southworth as Ethel Rogers takes no guff from her husband Thomas (Rick Mickley) |
as Anthony Marston (Jeff Graham) helps himself to a spot of whiskey
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright
The faces we wear in public often vary depending on who our audience is. This is especially so of those “in service” – the manservants, maids, cooks and butlers who make up the domestic staff. This dichotomy is especially sharp in And Then There Were None, which opens February 9 at Farmington Players Barn Theater. Karen Southworth plays Ethel Rogers, a cook, who along with her husband, manservant Thomas Rogers (Rick Mickley), are engaged by the wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Owen to prepare their island estate for a house party. But as the story unfolds, both the guests and staff regret having ever accepted the invitation, with its potentially deadly consequences!
Just as in Downton Abbey, the divide between the staff and those they serve is one of the subplots of And Then There Were None. As Ethel Rogers, Karen’s character is deferential and gentile when speaking to the gentlemen and ladies of the house. But when addressing her husband Thomas, Ethel has a whole different demeanor and dialect. As Karen says, “Ethel is very nervous, and provides some of the humor in the beginning of the show, along with her husband, Tom Rogers and boatman Fred Narracott (played by Eric Nogas). Mrs. Rogers is a working class character, so the dialect is not as formal as some of the other characters, so that is a challenge.” But Mrs. Rogers knows how to turn on the charm when addressing her so-called superiors.
Karen enjoys reading murder mysteries and crime dramas and has also “performed in a couple of comedic murder mysteries with Get a Clue Mystery Theater …. so this is definitely a genre I enjoy!” And Then There Were None represents a chance for Karen “to be part of an ensemble cast, and to work with my friend and our director Laurie Smalis. Laurie and I met back in 1993 when we were both in Anything Goes at the old Barn! I took dance lessons with her for several years, and I was in a couple of shows she directed with Get a Clue.”
While Karen often helps backstage with lighting at the Barn, it’s been five years since she was onstage. This show represents a reunion with cast mates Tony Targan, Gary Weinstein and Jarrod Henderson from Legally Blonde, the Musical and she and Tony were also in Annie, both in 2013. In this show, Karen’s scenes are “mostly with Rick and Eric, and I really have to try not to laugh most of the time! We have a great crew, too, and I am looking forward to all the details coming together.”
And Then There Were None has 9 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from February 9 - 25. The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.