Jurors Needed for Christie’s Witness For the Prosecution in the Park

(Charlie Jarrett, Photographer)
The cast from last year’s production of Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web (L-R): Simon Patton, Tom Westlake, Amy Cook, Claire Stevenson, Terry Gooden, Malcolm Cowler and Danny Martin.

    The Orinda Starlight Village Players (OrSVP) return for their 36th season at the Orinda Community Center Park Amphitheater, opening the season with Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution, running weekends throughout June. In this production the audience sits in as the jury during the trial.
    “I love directing Agatha Christie shows as there’s always twists and turns and dead bodies in a beautiful English country home filled with beautiful people. Not this one!” says Director Suzan Lorraine.
    The play focuses on the courtroom trial of Leonard Vole, who stands accused of murdering a rich widow and naming him as her sole heir. “There’s very little physical action in a British courtroom, it’s all talk, talk, talk,” says Lorraine. “There are plenty of twists and turns, but the dialogue and characterizations are so well written (and acted by this cast) that the understated physicality provides an atmosphere of suspense.”
    The courtroom setting provides many challenges, Lorraine says. “I’ve directed all kinds of shows – drama, spoofs, mysteries, comedies – but never a British courtroom drama. In other plays, characters move around a lot.” 
    Despite the limitations of the setting, Lorraine says she is looking forward to the performances. “We have to work a bit harder to keep the level of thrill, curiosity and suspense at a high level. I think the audience will appreciate the story and the effort this cast is putting into making it an exciting experience they’ll talk about long after seeing the show.”
    Performances run May 31 to June 29, Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m., with one Sunday performance on June 23 at 4 p.m. and one Thursday performance on June 27 at 8 p.m.
    OrSVP is completely volunteer-run. Anyone who is interested in any aspect of theater and would like to help may contact the group at www.orsvp.org or 925-528-9225.
    On clear nights, OrSVP sets up telescopes so the audience can get a closer look at some of the nearby celestial objects. The moon, of course, often gets a center stage, but whenever Saturn is visible you can get a nice view of her rings.
    “The venue at Orinda is my all-time favorite and the people I get to work with are worth the cold nights and hot days,” says Lorraine. “This is a magical setting and when the lights go down, the stars – on stage and in the sky – come out.” 

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