Starlight Returns with Agatha Christie Thriller Towards Zero

(David Dierks, Photographer)
Some of the suspects of Orinda Starlight Village Players production of Agatha Christie’s Towards Zero (standing L-R): Kim Saunders, Veena Kumari, Kenny Silberg, William Spongberg, Patrick Atkinson, (seated L-R): Monica Bonnington, Marian Simpson and Maya Rath.

    The Orinda Starlight Village Players (OrSVP) return for their 38th season at the Orinda Community Center Park Amphitheater, opening the season with Agatha Christie’s murder-mystery Towards Zero. Directed by Beth Sheridan Hooper, performances run weekends June 3 through July 2.
    The action takes place on the terrace of Lady Tressilian’s cliffside house where N. Strange is caught between the old wife, Audrey, and new flame, Kay.
    “The characters are so very interesting. Each one has a past that informs their actions in the play. Each character is complex and nuanced in their relationships and needs,” said Hooper. “The characters seem to sense something will happen to them, but they and the audience are kept guessing through almost two acts.”
    There are two versions of the Towards Zero play, one adapted by Christie and Gerald Verner in 1956 and this lost version, written by Christie in 1945 and rediscovered in 2015. There are many differences between the two, most notably that this version takes place on the back terrace of the house, while the 1956 version takes place inside the house.
    “This is Agatha Christie’s writing and her vision of a house set on a cliff with a path to a huge rock and a window that drops 40 feet into the sea,” said Hooper. “I like that it’s not the inspector who solves things, but this unusual figure who has no connection to the others, Angus McWhirter.”
    Performances of Towards Zero run Friday and Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m., with a Sunday performance June 26 at 4 p.m. and a Thursday performance June 30 at 8 p.m.
    OrSVP is completely volunteer-run, and no one at the theater is paid. Anyone interested in any aspect of theater who would like to help is encouraged to contact the group at or 925.528.9225.
    “The passion of this group that not only puts on plays every summer, but builds the entire theater from scratch, is really inspiring,” said Hooper. “There’s a theatrical magic in performing under the stars.”
    For more information, visit

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