The Mystery of Edwin Drood finished its twelve-show run with three final performances this past weekend. Audiences enjoyed the show’s wonderful cast led by the inimitable Brian Townsend as the Chairman of London’s Music Hall Royale. Audiences also enjoyed being “in a London music hall in 1895” and being entertained by the cast members who came into the house before, after, and during the show to interact with show-goers.
As Charles Dickens died before he finished Drood, and, as he left no notes as to how he wanted the novel to end, it was up to audiences to select the character who masqueraded as Dick Datchery, the murderer, and the two characters who were most likely to be lovers. Audience members applauded and hooted and hollered attempting to get their favorites chosen. A complete list of audience selections can be found on the Drood page on the Guild website.
The Sunday performance was followed by “Cast and Crew,” a Guild tradition during which the cast presents gifts of appreciation to the Director and other key members of the production staff. Director Michael Falzon was given a Drood show poster with Guild art work and the names of cast and crew members. Music Director Julie Malloy was given a scarf which will be embroidered with the show logo. It was Julie’s practice of wrapping her head in a scarf when her spot on the orchestra scaffolding got a bit chilly.
Another part of the Cast and Crew tradition is a dinner. The Drood dinner was prepared in turn of the century British style by Guild member Marsha Barnett-Krause. She is seen in the Cast and Crew photo.
Speaking of the scaffolding, it can be seen in the picture above. Immediately following the Sunday show, crew members began to “strike” the set and they started with the scaffolding. The scaffolding created a 6’ x 24’ platform about 7’ above the stage to hold the eight piece orchestra. Putting the “pit” on scaffolding behind the actors allows for more room on stage and in the wings and also results in a better sound balance between orchestra and singers.
The “strike” usually occurs immediately after a show’s final performance so the stage can be cleared in readiness for the construction of the set for the next show. Stage Governor Dave Wood says, “We build things up and tear them down.”
Dave also says, “There’s always something to do at the Guild.” Come on down and join the fun.