Janelle Cammenga- Staff Writer
Lightning flashes through a window with an ocean view. Thunder cracks and rumbles. A gunshot. A scream. Suspicion runs rampant. Dordt Theatre Art’s production of And Then There Were None will leave you scared, confused, amused and excited. Though not necessarily in that order.
The set will be the first thing to strike you as you walk in the theatre. Painted wooden floors and creepy lighting are just the start of the things that draws an audience into the world of the play. Chairs are set right up to the living room floor, so viewers are able to get up close and personal with all of the events happening on stage.
“We get right up in people’s business,” said senior Luke Venhuizen, aka Anthony Marston.
The set is not the only impressive part of the production, especially in terms of freshman involvement. The poster designs were hand-drawn by freshman Emily Wicker. Also, director Logan Radde, a senior Theatre Arts and HHP major, was quick to mention the lengths taken by freshman and advertising designer Becca Mulder to make the play a success. Mulder handwrote over 300 letters to send to Dordt faculty, aged the paper and sealed each letter with wax.
“Three-hundred-plus letters just makes my mouth drop,” Radde said, “and I couldn’t be happier with my team.”
The actual play is not overshadowed by the design team. There are a wealth of twists and turns in the plot to keep you on the edge of your old-fashioned seat. But you’ll have to see those for yourself.
“As an audience member, you will be shaking in your boots,” director Logan Radde said about his favorite part of the play. “It’s definitely a mind-blowing, teeth-grinding moment.”
As impressive as the play may be, there is still plenty of humor in the production, both on- and off-stage.
“It’s one of those shows that makes you uncomfortable because you’re laughing but it’s a murder mystery,” said sophomore Jalyn Vander Wal, aka Fred Narracott.
In the midst of building intrigue, the character interactions and well-timed comments offer welcome breaks to the suspense – and script aside, there is plenty of bonding among the cast members, too.
“I came up with a dance move called ‘the Narracott’,” said Jalyn Vander Wal. “You just kinda vibrate every part of your body you can while standing in one place.”
One of Vander Wal’s lines is the single word “right.” Junior Peter Rexford, aka Philip Lombard, started using the line to get into his British accent, much to the chagrin of the cast. Fellow members have started keeping track of how often he says the word, and, when the show is complete, will make him do twice that number in pushups.
“I made myself bleed while combing my hair too vigorously,” senior Luke Venhuizen said about his first hair-and-makeup trial. “Not everyone can say that they’ve done that.”
But acting in the play is not just messing around. The production comes with its challenges.
Vander Wal found that her biggest challenge was in figuring out how to develop a small character. “I’m literally on the stage for all of 11 lines,” she said. “That’s like, 1/23rd of the show.” Despite her short stage time, Vander Wal shared that her part was “pretty integral.”
Venhuizen had no problems with his character, but he found his “freakin’ accent” to be his biggest frustration. He spent some time practicing line-by-line with senior and dialect coach Eliana Radde to make sure that he pronounced words in a suitably British manner.
The set, costumes, lighting and sound combine to make this show one to remember.
In regards to what audience members can expect, director Radde said, “Every single person who comes out of [the theatre] will be wowed.”