What comes to mind when you hear Agatha Christie? Traveler? Wife? Mother? Playwright? Writer? She is the best-selling novelist in history, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Christie authored more than 80 novels and short stories and wrote the world’s longest running stage play, “The Mousetrap.”
Christie created several characters which developed large fan bases including Miss Marple, a very observant elderly resident of St. Mary Mead who appeared in 12 of Christie’s crime novels and 20 short stories. Tommy & Tuppence Beresford are a married couple who get wrapped up in adventures involving international spies, thefts, wars and their own marriage. The couple appeared in a collection of short stories, “Partners in Crime” and four novels.
Hercule Poirot and his infamous little grey cells and waxed moustaches first appeared in “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” and is featured in 54 short stories and 33 novels, including some of her most successful such as “Death on the Nile” and “Murder on the Orient Express.”
My seventh grade English teacher introduced our class to Poirot when she handed us paperback copies of “Murder on the Orient Express” with the last few chapters torn out. We were assigned to read the book and then compose our own conclusions as to who the murderer was. I’ve been hooked on the Queen of Crime ever since.
“The Hollow” was published in 1946 in London and under the title “Murder after Hours” in the United States. It was the 25th appearance of Poirot. However, it is not a secret that Christie and her fictional creation did not see eye to eye.
Her thoughts about him were even a Final Jeopardy! clue earlier this year: “His creator sometimes found him a ‘detestable, bombastic, tiresome little creature.’” Christie eventually refused to allow Poirot to appear on book jackets.
Christie grew so tired of her character, as did Sir Conan Arthur Doyle did of his Sherlock Holmes, that she wrote “Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case” in the 1940s. It was locked in a safe until it was published in 1974. Poirot then became the only fictional character to receive an obituary in The New York Times.
Agatha Christie expert Dr. Chris Chan will be hosting a Pre-Show Seminar Saturday, July 23 in the theater starting at 6:30 p.m. If you want to know more on what inspired Christie to write “The Hollow” or why she excluded Poirot from her stage adaptation of the book you should join us.
Christie’s brilliant whodunit, “The Hollow,” and its cast of 12 is on stage through July 24. To watch a video about the mystery featuring director Joe Foust and actor James Leaming visit our Facebook page, YouTube page or website. Within the video viewers can see a preview of the lush costumes and elegant setting that have been receiving as many rave reviews as the performances of our talented cast.
Congratulations to our entire creative and tech team who crafted this stylish English country estate, especially to Costume Designer Rachel Lambert, Scenic Designer Sarah E. Ross, Lighting Designer Emil Boulos, Properties Designer Amanda Herrmann, Scenic Artist April Beiswenger, Wig Master Kyle Pingel and sound designer Rick Sims. Enjoy their refined designs and the actor’s dazzling performances by joining us for a performance of “The Hollow” before it departs our stage.
For more information on pre-show seminars, post-show discussions, backstage tours or the rest of the 2016 season give our Box Office a call at (920) 868-3287 or visit www.peninsulaplayers.com. We hope to see you by the bay this season, where the sun sets, the curtain rises and the stars shine.