Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Secret Adversary: In Review

Cleveland Sight Center
Yes, it has been over a month since my last entry. These things happen. However, for years I have posted updates about the outreach tour and how it is progressing. Unfortunately, I attended only two performances of this year’s play, my adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary, before the sudden death of my father.

Family business and my own sense of disorientation and mourning kept me from the show for a week. Lisa and I were going to host and moderate the performances equally, and thankfully she was able to take all of them instead, in my absence.

Lakewood Public Library
As it happened, the afternoon performance at the Cleveland Sight Center occurred just when each of my brothers were in town, and the day before my father’s memorial service. We all attended together. My brothers have never before been in the audience together, and with me, for something I have written.

Not surprisingly, The Secret Adversary has been very well attended. The name “Agatha Christie” remains popular. Christie’s works are the third best-selling in the world after the Bible and Shakespeare.

We had to turn numerous people away at Clague Playhouse when all seats were taken, though a dozen or so stayed to watch the large video screen in the lobby that showed the performance. It was standing room only in Lakewood, but no one was required to leave.

Those turned away are no doubt disappointed, and post-show evaluations give certain audience members the opportunity to complain about crowded conditions or having to sit in the back. (Did I mention it’s free?) However, the overwhelming reaction to the production is very high.
"Your actors are amazing! Possibly better than what I've seen on touring Broadway casts."
- Student, Elyria Catholic High School

"The script was outstanding - this was a great adaptation!"
- Kendal at Oberlin audience member

“I really, really, really loved this play. I very much enjoyed the actors and actresses, the theme, the dialogue, and the ending scene was just beautiful.”
- Student, Hudson Middle School
Friday afternoon we performed in the new Cleveland School of the Arts building, in their “Black Box” space. Over 150 students in attendance, and they were wonderful, leaning forward, hanging on every word, getting every jokes, gasping at each revelation. After the show, their questions were all processed-based, about character, accents, physicality, even about the writing, adapting a novel into a play.

There will be a performance this afternoon in Cleveland Heights, which is home base for me. There are only three more public performances before we close, in Oberlin, Akron and Lorain.

The Secret Adversary opened on February 16, my mother's birthday. She and my father were in attendance, he was always a great reader and very fond of mystery novels and he provided and suggested numerous books that I used for research. And basically made me a person who would want to adapt a novel by Agatha Christie into a play. He enjoyed the show.

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