“A wild and funny ride...” – Cleveland Examiner
Christmas in Connecticut was never this… fatal! In William Gillette’s glorious Art Deco mansion, several actor friends (and Gillette’s dotty mother) gather to celebrate the holidays. When one… or two?... or three?... of his guests end up murdered, it is up to Gillette—who famously portrayed Sherlock Holmes—to snuff out the suspects in this uproarious comedy-thriller.
December 2 – 4 and 8 – 10
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Evenings at 7:30 pm
Sunday Matinee at 2 pm
If you require an ASL interpreter, please contact the Fine Arts Series at email@example.com at least one week prior to the performance you are planning on attending.
Christmas in Connecticut is a familiar trope from the several movies that have that title, invoking happy holiday memories. But in actor William Gillette’s mansion on the Connecticut River—as depicted in Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot, or Holmes for the Holidays—the body count seems to rival the number of French hens in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The comedy-mystery, produced by SUNY Brockport’s Department of Theatre and Music Studies, opens on Friday, December 2, 2022, at 7:30 pm at the Tower Fine Arts Center, 180 Holley Street, Brockport.
PLEASE NOTE: SUNY Brockport’s up-to-date COVID-19 prevention guidelines can be found on our ticketing website, the Fine Arts Series Facebook page, and at brockport.edu/coronavirus. Compliance with campus protocols is required in order to attend any of our performances or events.
Gillette was an extremely famous actor in the early 20th century, noted for portraying Sherlock Holmes on stage for many years. He also built a magnificent mansion on the shore of the Connecticut River, chock full of trend-setting gadgets and features, such as the first in-home intercom system.
At a Christmas Eve dinner, Gillette has gathered a few actor friends, his dotty elderly mother, and a poison-pen critic, creating a situation teeming with whodunnit tension. The combination of suspense, comedy, and out-sized theatrical personalities proves to be quite potent—and fatal—in this frolic of a play. When someone turns up, well… dead, Gillette sets out to solve the murder, letting his ego conflate his own profession as an actor with Holmes’ as a superior sleuth.
It is the sort of scenario that evokes Art Deco-infused movies from the 1930s, when style oozed off the screen. In fact, director Frank Kuhn has had his cast look at “clips from films of the period, like My Man Godfrey, The Philadelphia Story, and His Girl Friday. Since the characters are all theatre people, and always ‘on,’ we’ve also been playing with a style of speaking, made popular by Edith Skinner, that was in vogue with stage and screen actors of that time.”
There are times when one really wants to see a true difference in generations on stage that can’t be accomplished with makeup and wigs. In The Game’s Afoot, Gillette’s mother, Martha, is a doddering old woman. To bring her to life, Kuhn has cast Pam Feicht, who has many local, regional, and national tour credits peppering her career as a professional actress. Kuhn beams, “Yes, we are really blessed to have Pam working with us…She brings a different level of technique to the work, one informed by years learning what works on stage. So we spend less time talking about technique than I do with the rest of the cast. [Additionally], she is a wonderful model for the rest of the cast. She comes to rehearsal ready to work, having thought about different moments and ready to try out some choices… her generosity on stage contributes to the work of the rest of the cast. She’s a dream to work with.”
Kuhn has directed works by Ludwig at Brockport in the past, including Fox on the Fairway. He finds that he loves “masterful craft in shaping comic situations and comic dialogue. While working on this production, I’ve discovered he can also craft a good thriller, setting up a situation and a theatrical moment! He just really understands how theatre can work.”
Performances of The Game’s Afoot are on December 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10, at 7:30 pm. There is also a matinee on Sunday, December 4, at 2 pm.