The Mousetrap

 

Director: Adam Immerwahr

Playwright: Agatha Christie

Set Design: Alexander Dodge

Costume Design: Jess Goldstein

Lighting Design: Phillip Rosenberg

Sound Design: Nick Kourtides

Stage Manager: Cheryl Mintz

With: Jessica Bedford, Richard Gallagher, Graeme Malcolm, Andy Phelan, Thom Sesma, Sandra Shipley, and Emily Young

MCCARTER THEATRE

PRINCETON, NJ

FEB - MAR 2016

There’s a reason The Mousetrap has been playing for decades and decades in England. It works. It just works.


Sure, there are logical fallacies and problems with chronological time in the script itself, but goodness gracious, the turn in the plot and the way doubt is thrown on every single character is masterful.


Two interesting things from the show:

Our director, Adam (whom I also collaborated with on The Understudy at the McCarter), envisioned the prologue as a shadow play behind a scrim. Using numerous hidden instruments that were able to backlight the “screen,” the actors quickly and nimbly created a montage of the first murder that both set the tone and excitement for the play. At the end of the scenelet, the scrim dropped, revealing a totally empty stage, the cavernous and chilly Monkswell manor.


Another thing of note was the ninth character of the play. The manor itself. Designed by Alexander Dodge with audio enhancements and idiosyncracies by Nick Kourtides and lighting peculiarities by Phil Rosenberg, Monkswell had a very lived in, sentient presence throughout the play, underscoring the danger.


Alex’s design -- the black-and-white faux marble on the floor and shaped stalagtites on the ceiling could be construed as either a chess set or jaws -- played with depth perception to make a room appear much larger than it actually was. And Nick’s sound system included hidden sensors throughout the set that would emit, for example, creaking sounds on the stairs and crackling sounds in the fireplace. And Phil’s lights perfectly fit in, with shadows rising and ebbing throughout the day. Really lovely to work in.

Monkswell Manor, the ninth character of the play.

Jess Bedford (Molly) and I are alarmed. That’s my alarmed face. I was often alarmed.

In rehearsal, as I try not to ham it up too much with a bunch of luggage.