A night at The Little Theatre with Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”

Ben Kearney, Campus Life Reporter

The Little Theatre just finished its run of the popular murder mystery play, “And Then There Were None.”

Written by Agatha Christie in 1939, the show tells the story of ten people stranded on an island with a murder. What differs this play from most murder mysteries is that it follows the children’s counting rhyme “Ten Little Indians,” used as “Ten Little Soldier Boys” in the Little Theatre’s performance.

“’And Then There Were None’ was my first interaction with Agatha Christie,” Jeremy Reed, the director of the Little Theatre’s production, said. “I was about 10 years old when my parents sat us down as a family and showed us the 1945 film adaptation. It was love at first viewing.”

Reed shares his love for Christie’s work with his grandmother, who had a large collection herself. “I ended up having her entire works at my fingertips whenever I felt like diving into a juicy mystery,” he said.

Reed stated his love for the play was largely due to the misdirection written into the show, and he loves hearing the audience try to figure out who the killer is.

“My favorite scene to block was the final scene. I purposely put very little planning as I wanted to give the actors room to play with how these characters would move in those final moments,” Reed said. “What came back was a fantastically organic, natural, and ultimately terrifying scene that I think is leaving audiences thrilled. It’s a wonderful last burst of energy before the curtain call.”

Rehearsals for The Little Theatre’s production began in November and began performances on Jan. 28, 2022.

However, rehearsing a play in a pandemic wasn’t all smooth sailing.

“It felt like every day there was something new; either a cast or crew member had been exposed to the virus or had caught it themselves,” Reed said. “The cast got very good at acting with people missing. In fact, I think we only had the cast completely together once or twice before Tech week.”

Although COVID-19 was still an obstacle, many performers were grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the cast again.

“It was 2018 when I was last in a play,” actor Anthony Ochoa (Phillip Lombard) said. “It was great getting out and performing for the first time in years.”

For some, like Marti Phillips who played Vera Clyathorn, it was their first time performing in live theatre at all. Philips had heard of Agatha Christie before auditioning but wasn’t familiar with the show itself.

“We got to the readthrough after all the casting. And we were literally reading through, and I was like ‘huh, who’s the killer?’ There was a point where I thought, ‘Oh I think it’s Wargrave’, and then he died, and then I was like ‘Oh crap, is it me? Am I the killer?!’ So, I was totally blind coming in and I knew nothing about it all,” Phillips said.

Despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, the cast and crew of “And Then There Were None” entertained Walla Walla with a thrilling murder mystery.