By Katie Ellington, Staff Writer
Actors have described it as a murder-mystery thriller meets Downtown Abbey. Needless to say, it’s not quite what you’d expect from Asbury’s Theatre Department.
“We haven’t done anything like this play before,” said senior Gabriel Chandler. “It’s really, really creepy.”
When the play was first made into a movie in 1937, it was advertised as a chilling drama and compared with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. While director Jeff Day considers the terror mild in comparison to today’s thrillers, Chandler believes it will keep people on the edge of their seats.
According to Chandler, who plays Inspector Belsize, there are plenty of suspenseful moments. “As everything starts falling into place, there are several moments when you feel like the show could just end if one thing would go right, but then it goes wrong.”
Night Must Fall is set in 1930s England, where Olivia Grayne lives with her cantankerous old aunt, Mrs. Bramson, in an isolated home deep in the woods. Mrs. Bramson hires a charming young man, Danny, to be her live-in companion, but Olivia is suspicious he may have been involved with a mysterious murder not far from their house.
Junior Abigail Foster, who plays Olivia, describes the play as “terrifying” and says that she’s often gotten scared while rehearsing. But there’s more to love than just the suspense.
“Each character is very deep and meaty,” says sophomore Brooke Butterworth, who plays Mrs. Bramson. From the young, idealistic Olivia to the crabby, disapproving Mrs. Bransom to the snarky, outspoken housekeeper, Mrs. Terence; each character is vastly different. The actors have had fun researching, exploring and developing their characters—especially their accents.
“Working on the accents has been great,” said Foster. “It’s very, very British.”
And as one would expect of any play set in England, there’s plenty of classic British humor: the characters are witty, sarcastic and not afraid to be candid with one another.
“We’ve fallen in love with the script,” says Foster. “The characters are so funny.”
Night Must Fall will also feature a specially-designed set, created to make the audience feel like they are in the house with the characters.
“It really involves the audience and makes them part of the action,” says Foster. “They literally get to be a fly on the wall.”
Night Must Fall runs March 3 through March 7 at 7:30 in the Greathouse Theater. Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased online or at the door. For more information, check out the play’s event page on Facebook or go to www.asbury.edu/theater.