If something seems fishy about the Department of Theatre Arts’ production of “The Mousetrap,” which opens this weekend, it’s probably all the red herrings one usually finds in an Agatha Christie mystery.
“In Christie’s work, there are always a number of red herrings — things that lead the audience to think a character is guilty when they are not,” said Professor Andrew Gaupp who is directing the play. “There are a number of characters who resemble characters from other [Christie] plays; people she wants us to think might be guilty when perhaps they may not be.”
“The Mousetrap,” the longest, continuously-running play in theatre history, follows a group of eccentric travelers trapped by a snowstorm in a boarding house outside of London. The play first opened in the West End of London in 1952 and has had more than 23,000 performances.
Gaupp said that while he has read the play, he had never before seen a production. So bringing a fresh approach to directing the work wasn’t a problem.
“I thought it would be a good play for the students to produce, act in, design, build and whatnot,” Gaupp said. “The play is somewhat formulaic: people have to enter at certain times, certain things have to happen at the right times. Some parts have to be done as specified in the script. But I tried to create a sense of the chase through the questioning of potential suspects.”
Junior Bridie Corbett is featured as Mollie Ralston, sophomore Jonathan Crawford as Major Metcalf, junior Robert Bell as Giles Ralston, and freshman Hannah Kashmar as Mrs. Boyle. Chloe Hobbie, Abel Ramos, Dan Hinckley and Joshua Eguia round out the cast.
Gaupp said there’s a long-standing tradition with “The Mousetrap”: the audience is asked to keep their reviews to friends and family spoiler-free.
“At the end of the play the audience is always asked to not reveal who the murderer is,” he said. “The play itself is something of a tradition; one I think people in theater have fun with. It’s a fun game we play within ourselves or with others — the audience gets wrapped up in trying to figure out who the murder is.”
“The Mousetrap” will run Oct. 14-15 and Oct. 20-22 at 8 p.m. in the Mainstage Theatre in the Fine Arts Building. A matinee performance will be at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 23. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $7 for senior citizens, students with ID, and UT Arlington faculty and staff. For tickets/reservations, group rates, or further information, please contact the UT Arlington Department of Theatre Arts Box Office at (817) 272-2669.