Play Preview: ‘And Then There Were None’


Zoe LaPorte, Mason Moher, Adam Ercolani and Meghan Digerolamo partake in one of the dress rehearsals before the play premieres.

Adam Ercolani, Reporter

The Misericordia Players will present Agatha Christie’s famous murder mystery ‘And Then There Were None’ from Thursday, Nov. 12 to 14 in the Lemmond Theater.

The play tells the story of 10 strangers who are each invited to assemble in an exquisite home located on the mysterious Soldier Island off the coast of Devon, England. Each received a letter welcoming him or her to the home under different pretexts, and they all accepted the offer. The first spark of confusion is created when the host and hostess do not arrive. Not long after the arrival of each guest, a mysterious voice speaking from a gramophone record accuses each person in the house of being a guilty party responsible for the death of another. The guests start dropping dead, one by one, and fingers begin to point as remaining guests struggle to find the psychotic killer hell-bent on following a popular nursery rhyme, “Ten Little Soldier Boys,” to determine how each will die. Each death results in a corresponding shattering of a soldier boy, until the end of the rhyme comes true: “…and then there were none.”

Based on the 1939 novel of the same name, the play has arguably become Christie’s most famous work. The original best-selling novel is the world’s best-selling literary work in the mystery genre and is one of the best-selling novels of all time, having sold over 100 million copies since its publication. The story was adapted to the stage for the first time in 1943, and has been widely performed ever since, both professionally and by amateurs. It was produced as recently as this year. The Agatha Christie Theatre Company in the United Kingdom presented the work earlier this year to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Christie’s birth as well as the 10th anniversary of the theater. The story has also been adapted to the screen numerous times. The cinema has produced several films based on Christie’s story, such as the 1974 film of the same name. The story has come to television as well, including the CBS show “Harper’s Island,” loosely based on the book, and the premiere episode of the ninth season of “Family Guy,” And Then There Were Fewer, which parodied Christie’s tale.

Christie’s work blends the dark genre of a murder mystery with a hint of comedy and is described as a “superlative mystery comedy” by the play’s publisher, Samuel French Publishing. “People who like murder mysteries know Christie and this is one of her most well-known,” said director Jeff Kelly. “It’s a comedy similar to the film ‘Clue,’ which everyone finds hysterical, but with its own twist.”

Kelly chose to direct this show at a student’s suggestion. “It’s a well-known show. Having done it in high school made me much more willing to direct,” he said, “Also, in college, you have a much deeper understanding of the work.”

“Our stage here really plays to our benefit,” Kelly explained. “We need to keep everyone on their toes. Someone is poisoned, and then you look back and realized that every single person in the room has walked by the glass containing the poison at some point. Christie puts a lot into her craft. She keeps the audience guessing, and there will be people who see this who will not know who the killer is until the very end.”

The cast includes only eleven members, six men and five women. Its members range from freshmen to seniors and includes performers of every experience level, from those who are hitting the stage for only the second time, to more experienced performers whose show count is somewhere in the twenties.

These performers are in a variety of the school’s most rigorous programs, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology, and the cast contains a number of athletes as well. The football, golf, and field hockey teams are represented. “Dealing with everyone’s crazy schedules was certainly a challenge,” Kelly explained, “but it definitely wasn’t something that could prevent this production from reaching one hundred and ten percent.”

“This show really is perfect for our age group,” said sophomore Jess Pachuski, who will be playing Vera Claythorne. “It includes a lot of elements of horror and thriller and suspense films and also throws in a really interesting love story that really improves the plot and makes the ending so impactful.”

The show is not just for college-aged students. “When I told my parents about the show, they both knew the story already. They got excited because they remembered reading the book years ago. It’s also not too intense to bring kids to, so it really has an appeal for everyone,” Pachuski said. “I really can’t wait for people to see this. It already gets really intense during rehearsals, and it’s definitely going to be even more real with an audience. It’s going to put everyone in their seats on edge, and that’s really what we’re all going for.”

The cast includes Bryson Cahill as William Blore, James Cihocki as Fred Narracott, Adam Ercolani as Philip Lombard, Meghan DiGerolamo as Dr. Armstrong, Cordell Gresh as Mr. Thomas Rogers, Stephanie Helsel as Mrs. Ethel Rogers, Zoe LaPorte as Tony Marston, Michaela McQuaig as Ms. Emily Brent, Mason Moher as General Mackenzie, Jessica Pachuski as Vera Claythorne, and Jacob Schweiger as Sir Lawrence Wargrave. Melanie Fry is stage manager.

Curtain time is 8 p.m. Tickets cost $3 for students, alumni, and senior citizens, and $5 for the general public. They can also be purchased in advance during lunch in the cafeteria for a lower price: $3 for the general public, and only $1 for students.