On November 20 and 21, Drama Seminar performed Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol in the PAC. The play was a mix of the stories Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Mr. Holmes is warned by the ghost of his long-time enemy Professor Moriarty and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, of a future of damnation and suffering. Exploring Mr. Holmes’s lost love and the consequences of his retirement, the play presented a spin on the two Victorian classics.
The play itself was selected by Drama Seminar teacher and director Patricia Wray with help from Drama Seminar. “Last spring [Drama Seminar] decided [they] wanted to do Sherlock Holmes. I started reading plays but they never had enough female parts because it was the Victorian period,” said Wray. “I [read] everything Sherlock, and this was the one that was most interesting to me because it was so clever. It’s a total mashup of Dickens and Doyle, and it’s incredible to me that it actually works,” said Wray, “All those little idiosyncrasies that you see in the stories or in the movies get exasperated … It’s really, really clever.”
With two classics to take on, the cast and crew hurried to finish on time. “The biggest challenge [was] the time limit,” said Head Stage Manager Nick Pibl ’16. “Even [with] two weeks left [the stage crew had] a lot of work left to do.”
Both tech crew and the members of Drama Seminar helped out during rehearsals. “[The stage crew and the cast were] always giving constructive criticism,” said Assistant Stage Manager Maisie Ryle ’18. “It [was] always good to have outsider opinions, so even though I [was] the Assistant Stage Manager, I help[ed] out in a lot of different ways … [The play was] always improving.”
Actors also received special help from Lydia Duff ’16 who, after taking intensive dialect classes at Carnegie Mellon’s pre-college program, took on the challenge of becoming the play’s dialect coach. “I volunteered to be the dialect coach for this show,” Duff said. “At the beginning of the rehearsal process we listened to tapes … and [I] started doing warm-ups at the beginning of class with everyone. I also [took] notes in my script and help[ed] others do the same so they [had] guidance in how to tweak their dialects.”
With humor, drama, and references to the original stories, the cast enjoyed sharing their efforts with the Princeton High School community. “There [was] … a lot of humor, and for those that don’t know the story of Sherlock Holmes, it [was] relatable in [a] way that you can know the tale already,” Ryle said.