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'Sherlock Holmes' features mystery, romance and evil

Pictured (from left) Nevaeh Brewer (as Madge Larrabee), Jade Berget (as James Larrabee), Lydia Grunewaldt (as Alice Faulkner), David Postma (as Sherlock Holmes) during an October rehearsal for the New Richmond High School's fall drama production "Sherlock Holmes." Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia

Although Halloween is now behind us, the New Richmond High School drama department looks to keep some of the holiday's mystery and intrigue with a trio of performances of "Sherlock Holmes by Tim Kelly."

"We picked this play because it's November and we kind of have the Halloween going. And we thought Sherlock Holmes would be a nice little mystery for the season," said director Ashley Steiner. "And it is also a large cast play, which is good because we have a lot of freshmen coming in this year and we wanted to grow the program by giving as many people parts as possible. The play is pretty versatile and there are plenty of parts that I know I can find people to fit into those roles."

The show — which is freely adapted from the classic stage comedy by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and William Gillette — will open at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, with the final two performances at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18.

The plot of the play, according to Steiner, has Sherlock coming to the aid of the damsel in distress while trying to figure out the bigger picture to solve the mystery.

"There is romance, mystery and evil. It is just kind of fun to see all the different characters come together. The students are really doing an awesome job getting those awesome parts to play out," Steiner said. "The kids like Sherlock. They see all the different Sherlock shows on Netflix and it is just fun for them."

This year's cast is made up of 35 students, with some getting the chance to play truly evil characters for the first time.

"A highlight for them has been to get to play those evil characters you truly want to hate. They are doing a nice job to figure out what it looks like to be evil, while also putting their own spin on things. They are really taking ownership of their roles," Steiner said. "It is going to be an awesome show. They are so comfortable with everything and I think they will do great."

For senior David Postma, playing the lead role of Sherlock is both exciting and challenging.

"I don't feel like I'm the most observant person, like Sherlock would be, but I can kind of play that type of role really well," said Postma. "I can play like I'm really arrogant and like I'm able to ignore people. The way that I see Sherlock is that he is a genius, he is absolutely brilliant, and he knows it. So he kind of views everyone else around him as lesser and slow, because to him they are. I'm not like that, but I feel like we have a similar mind so there are things that click and connect for me that allow me to envision who Sherlock is."

Unlike Postma, junior William Chrisco wanted to play a villian, but ended up in the role of Watson instead.

"Watson actually wasn't my first pick. I wanted to be a more evil character, but I guess I made a pretty good Watson on stage. Steiner said that I have to be Watson, so I guess it really fits me," said Chrisco.

One of the biggest challenges for the cast has been memorizing lines. Postma's Sherlock alone has 189 lines of dialogue.

"We are coming to the point where we as a cast are freaking out a little bit, because of course we aren't going to feel like we are ready or be ready for opening night. But this is the time you have to kick it into gear and spend a lot of time working on it. There are going to be hundreds of people sitting in this audience if we are ready or not. So we can't just say that we will give it another day or so to get our parts down. But that is something that happens every year, so I'm sure we are more ready than we think we are," Postma said.

For the stage crew, this fall's production will be a learning experience for most.

"We are relearning all the lights and sound this year because the senior who had done everything last year is gone. And this is a very set- and costume-heavy play, so that is new for us since we haven't had anything like that before for the people who are in the crew now," said senior and stage crew member Abby Modesette. "Things are finally starting to get rolling here. We have people working on the costumes and the set is starting to come together as well. We are working on building the bigger set pieces now."

Even though the cast will be nervous right up until the curtain goes up on opening night, they are also excited to be performing something new and different.

"I'm really excited for the play this year because it is a big cast and we haven't had one for awhile. It's a lot of new crew members, which has us moving toward a younger group in the department. That is a good thing, especially with us having set up a new drama club this year," Modesette said.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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