Marshall Theater Department to Put on ‘Postmortem’ Play

Postmortem is a mystery play that will be presented by the theater department beginning on Wednesday at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center. 

“It’s a ‘whodunit,’ so like ‘Clue,’ or Agatha Christie novels…,” lead actor Jimi Lawson, said, “It’s based around the idea that there was a murder and one of the lead protagonists, William Gillette, spends the play trying to solve the murder of his fiancé.” 

The play, written by American playwright Ken Ludwig, is set in 1922. It centers around Broadway actor, William Gillette, who is most well-known for his 30-year portrayal of literary figure, Sherlock Holmes. After a murder takes place at a party in his castle, and he suspects it must be one of his guests, he decides to try and solve it like Sherlock Holmes would.  

“I play William Gillette. Gillette is based on a real person who was an actor in the early nineteenth century,” Lawson said, “He made most of his career playing Sherlock Holmes, and we’re doing a caricature of that person in this show.” 

The play runs from Wednesday to Saturday, beginning at 7:30 p. m. The cast and crew have been rehearsing for the play since the start of the semester. 

“We typically rehearse 4-6 weeks, 5 days a week for three hours each evening,” director of the play Jack Cirillo, said, “Add to that research, design and technical meetings, etc. We invest over 100 hours in each production we do.” 

Like every other department, the theater department has faced difficulties when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has affected the way that they prepare for their performances.  

“The same kind of thing affected classes across all of campus,” Lawson said, “We had to make concessions and moved online and things like that. I’ve had the advantage of coming and doing the bulk of my theater work after lock-down, so back to face-to-face with masks.” 

“Covid has had enormous impact on our work and has devastated the live performance industry,” Cirillo said, “We rehearse everything in masks and…everyone gets tested weekly.  We’ve had to accommodate quarantine of exposed cast and crew at various times and yet we continue to work towards our goal of presenting our very best work for a live audience.”