Settle into a comfy seat at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre to watch Witness for the Prosecution performed by the Chilliwack Players’ Guild.
The gripping courtroom drama puts the spotlight on a young financial advisor, Leonard Vole, who is accused of murdering his elderly friend, Miss Emily French.
“Everyone likes a good whodunit,” says producer Patti Lawn, a longtime member of the Guild. “And who doesn’t like Agatha Christie?”
The production of Witness for the Prosecution runs nightly at the Cultch for the next two weekends, Oct. 13-15 and Oct. 19-22.
The lead role is played by Cale Walde, within a cast of about 20 Guild players, with several newcomers.
The opening scene takes place in a study. As the action unfolds the viewer gets to meet the lawyers, the witnesses and some key characters, like Leonard’s wife who could hold the key to his guilt or innocence.
“The cool thing is that the courtroom drama draws the audience in and takes them along. They get really involved in the mystery, and in mulling over who could have done it,” Lawn says.
Witness for the Prosecution is known for a series of rather tortuous plot twists, characteristic of the writer’s style, as suspicion shifts from one character to the next. The murderer is finally revealed in deliciously dramatic fashion. A satisfying ‘denouement’ is in store for the audience, which is a theatrical term describing what happens when all the strands of the plot are drawn together at the end of a narrative, and the truth becomes clear.
The costumes were designed by Christine Newsome, set design by Graham Archer and lighting by Haley Smith.
The short story turned into a play was written by Agatha Christie, initially published as Traitor Hands in Flynn’s Weekly on Jan. 31, 1925. Witness for the Prosecution was also made into a film in 1957 starring Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich.
“There’s actually a connection to the Guild with that version, since the first building used by the local players was called the Charles Laughton Theatre, back in the 1950s, on Alexander Avenue.”
Witness for the Prosecution, at Chilliwack Players’ Guild, $20/$15, 7:30 p.m. October 12-15, 19-22, 604-391-SHOW (7469) or www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca