Our Current 2018-2019 Season:

Our Current 2018-2019 Season:

Monday, February 19, 2018

Henderson and Bickerstaff Strike a Chord in Agatha Christie Mystery

Jarrod Henderson as Philip Lombard and Maggie Bickerstaff as Vera Claythorne
meet their match in Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None
PHOTO by Jim Kelly
It is said that opposites attract, and in the case of Philip Lombard and Vera Claythorne, the magnetism is palpable.  In Agatha Christie’s murder mystery And Then There Were None, Lombard and Claythorne are romantically linked from the opening scene.  In the Farmington Players production, Jarrod Henderson plays Lombard, a former army captain and adventurer that Jarrod describes as “a cultured man who is not keen to boundaries. At times he’s a flirt but that doesn’t stop him from observing the people in the room. Playing this role has been a true joy. I like how my character is a total badass.”   In contrast, Maggie Bickerstaff plays Vera, a dutiful secretary who is never off duty.  But Vera is no shrinking violet, and she certainly finds her voice during the drama.  As Maggie says, “Vera is very observant and strong-willed, and I absolutely love playing women who aren't afraid to make some noise and stand up for themselves. I think the biggest challenge is just being aware of the stark differences between how women presented and conducted themselves in the 1930s versus how we do so today.”

To prepare for their roles, both actors drew on their own experiences.  Like Lombard, Jarrod has sense of adventure, saying, “I love going on adventures to other places. It truly is exciting getting to absorb other cultures and communities. I most often get to do this when I compete in male pageantry across the states.”   For Maggie, it was tuning in to Vera’s keen sense of attentiveness:  “I think there is something to be said about keeping on your toes. Sometimes the stakes are high and sometimes not so much, but a show like And Then There Were None can really make you aware of the importance of always having your head in the game.”

Both actors have a musical background, but were attracted by the opposite experience that a dark drama offered.  Jarrod embraced the challenge of a non-musical role, his first straight play since college, saying, “I wanted to go for it. One can only play the comic relief, token and featured dancer so many times. This character allows me to tap into something new.”   Similarly, Maggie majored in vocal performance at Grand Valley State University and has a private voice studio for students.  But she has always been a Christie fan: “I grew up watching the PBS Masterpiece Poirot series with my family, so Agatha Christie has always held a place in my heart. When I saw the casting call for one of her most famous murder mysteries, I had to be a part of it!  Christie is a master of creating intensity in every moment and audiences will be hooked.”

This is Jarrod’s fifth show at the Farmington Players and he thinks “the storyline is unlike any I’ve seen at the Barn. Laurie Smalis’ direction for the show showcases it to its full potential.”  As a Barn newcomer, Maggie says, “the entire cast and production team have been beyond welcoming and kind to me, and I hope to have the opportunity to perform here again!”

And Then There Were None has three remaining sold out performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from February 23 – 25, but same-day tickets are sometimes available by calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.  The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers.



Monday, February 12, 2018

Eric Nogas Sounds Off As Captain Fred in Classic Christie Mystery

Eric Nogas as boat captain Fred Narracott, who "has a little bit of pirate in him."
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright
In the Agatha Christie classic murder mystery And Then There Were None, every character is both a suspect and a potential victim.  The first character to speak is crusty boat captain Fred Narracott, who has just ferried guests over from the mainland to Soldier Island, off the coast of Devon, England.  Unbeknownst to the visitors, it will be a one-way trip for most of them!

In the Farmington Players production (February 9 – 25), Eric Nogas plays Narracott, the ferry boat captain.  Eric explains how he prepared for his character:  “Agatha Christie had pretty detailed descriptions of all of the characters in the book except for Fred.  So it was really wide open for me.  All that we know is that he comes from the west country of England.  I did a lot of research on the west county and its accent. I found out it is where the famous Pirate Blackbeard comes from. So maybe Fred has a little bit of pirate in him.”

In addition to playing Narracott, Eric also designed sound for the show.  The weather is a key element of the story, and Eric takes great care to add realistic sound effects to help set the mood of each scene. As Eric says, “Sound is something that I love doing and finding the right music or sound effect is so enjoyable to me and the Barn has given me a great opportunity to explore this passion.”  He’s currently Sound Chair for the Farmington Players, and he has also designed sound for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Becky’s New Car, Spamalot, Calendar Girls, Greetings, and the upcoming Into the Woods, in which he will also be performing.  And Then There Were None is Eric’s first non-musical role after making his stage debut in Spamalot last year.

Eric observes that Agatha Christie mysteries are timeless: “Even though this novel was written almost 80 year ago, human nature has not changed all that much.  Put 10 people in a room that you know nothing about and one tends to make judgments or assumptions about people because of the way they look, their job, how they dress, their accent etc.  Christie does a wonderful job of weaving a web of mistrust and misunderstandings.”   He adds that this “show has been well cast and patrons will find some familiar faces on stage but will be delighted by the newcomers as well.”

Eric lives in Farmington with his wife Christa and kids Jack and Sydney.  He has been part of local youth theater for the last seven years, including stage managing, assistant directing and set building. He works as Branch Manager at Snelling Staffing Service’s Southfield office.


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 boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Karen Southworth Provides Service with a Smile in Agatha Christie Mystery

 
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 boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

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