Mysterious New Comedy: The Game's Afoot at the Kennedy Center
I'm happy to report that we had a terrific reading of The Game’s Afoot at the Kennedy Center over Labor Day Weekend. We rehearsed for a day and a half, all day Sunday and half a day on Monday to get ready for the show, and we performed it at the Terrace Theatre (in my view, the most intimate and nicest house at the Kennedy Center) and the place was packed.
The cast was outstanding. Marc Kudisch, playing William Gillette, hit it out of the park. He was a healthy, vigorous Holmes, not the Basil Rathbone type -- more like the Robert Downey Jr. type. Erin Weaver was a lovable, edgy Aggie, and Val Leonard was a whirlwind as the Louella Parsons figure, Daria Chase -- bitchy, vindictive and loads of fun. Nancy Robinette who is a huge Washington favorite was hilarious as the inspector. She can do no wrong. There was simply no one in the cast who wasn't outstanding.
I added some fun technical elements to the reading—we had light changes and a few sound effects, as well as guns and knives. For a reading, it was as close to a production as you can get in less than 48 hours. Thank goodness it all worked!
What was especially interesting to me was that the play actually functioned more as a comedy with a mystery in it than a mystery with some comic elements. I thought it was going to be a funny mystery in the tradition of the Mousetrap, but it ended up being sort of uproarious, with wall to wall laughs. There were definitely some tense moments, as I'd hoped, but basically it turned out to be sort of whopping comedy. I was pleased as punch.
Afterward, I took questions in the lobby of the Kennedy Center and got a lot of great feedback. There were a lot of mystery buffs in the audience and they gave me some clever ideas about how to make the plot seamless. Also, my thanks to Gregg Henry, who was, as always, a terrific producer. (As everyone knows, I'm sure, he's one of the great gurus of theatre at the KenCen.)
All in all, we had a wonderful time, and my thanks to the Kennedy Center and the cast and the crew of the show are boundless.
Next week I’ll report on rehearsals for A Fox on the Fairway at Signature theatre, so check back soon!