“Holmes And Watson,” is a theatrical mystery filled with so many red herrings, twists and turns that the play’s director FHU senior Courtney Willcut is extremely careful about spoiling any plot points when she talks about the production.
“This play is entertaining and engaging for any audience member, regardless if you know anything about Sherlock Holmes,” said Willcut, a theatre performance major. “This is a very unique, original mystery that will keep audiences guessing until the very end.”
“Holmes And Watson” will open at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in the Black Box Theatre, located at 145 E Main St, in Henderson. Additional performances will take place Friday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Individuals may purchase tickets online at fhutickets.universitytickets.com.
The production is the first of FHU theatre’s fall season and Willcut’s senior capstone project as she prepares to graduate in December.
“I’ve been very excited to direct,” Willcut said. She has directed two short plays prior to her senior year – “10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse” and “World Without Memory.”
“This is my first time directing a full length play and it’s quite daunting. I discovered ‘Holmes and Watson’ over a year ago and I’ve read it several times, so I am familiar with it. I spent the summer preparing to put it on stage,” Willcut said.
During the weeks leading up to the opening night, Willcut and her team have been busy with designing the set, working on the general layout and holding auditions.
“There were two nights of auditions, and we had a larger turnout than I expected,” Willcut said. “We just finished blocking the show, and now we’re rehearsing five days a week.”
“Holmes And Watson” props master Nate Cass is excited for audiences to see some of the surprising props they have been working on including a dictionary that does more than provide definitions.
“We’re having a lot of fun pulling these props together,” said Cass, a junior theatre design major. Cass is also portraying Holmes 1 in the play.
FHU junior Jack Joiner is literally wearing two hats in this production — portraying Dr. Watson and serving as costume designer.
“I’ve been drawing concept art based on characters,” Joiner said.
Additional cast members include: Kevin Record as Dr. Evans; Seth Wilson as Holmes 2; Eli Cadle as Holmes 3; Shayli Studer as matron and Jordan Deck as the orderly. Members of the production crew are: Maralyn Short (stage manager), Luke Noles (lighting operator), Marisa Cottrill (sound operator), Landon Rydl (scenic designer) and Jordan Deck (lighting designer). Costume, hair/make-up crew members include Haley Hixson, Kaylee Sexson and MK Miller. Props crew members are Hannah Sherwin and Drew Bramblett. Construction crew includes Ashlyn Chandler, Coben Hartwick, Grace Sykes, Jack Joiner, Jessica Errico, Kaylee Sexson, Lucas Johnson, Luke Noles, Trenton Sweeney and Anslee Hulen. Paint crew members include Eli Cadle, MK Miller and Taylor Gorrell. Trenton Sweeney is the firearms master and Drew Bramblett is backstage crew.
In “Holmes And Watson” Sherlock Holmes is dead and his body was never recovered from the bottom of Reichenbach Falls. As imposters turn up regularly, it’s up to Dr. John Watson to disprove them. When a telegram arrives informing Watson that three men, each claiming to be Holmes, have been committed to a remote asylum off the coast of Scotland. Watson must discover if one of the mad men is the real Sherlock Holmes.
“The reveal scene is my favorite,” Willcut said. “The whole show slowly builds the tension, but it drops hints and clues. I can’t wait for audiences to experience this journey, the shock and twists of it all.”
Willcut has helped her friends with their capstone projects previously and is grateful for their advice as she navigates her own.
“Every show is unique and I’ve learned from my friends about how to be prepared, how to handle challenges and how to endure unexpected difficulties,” Willcut said.