Macon Little Theatre began its multi-week version Friday of what’s become the world’s longest continually running play: Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.”
“‘The Mousetrap’ was first performed in London’s West End in 1952 and has played continuously since,” said the production’s MLT director, Sydney H. Chalfa, a retired associate professor of theatre from Middle Georgia State University.
Christie’s who-done-it is in its 66th year in the West End with 27,000-plus performances — an obvious crowd pleaser.
“Audiences love it and actors too,” Chalfa said. “People love a mystery, a puzzle and they love oddities. This play has them all. It’s a suspenseful mystery, a challenging puzzle, and its eight characters are true oddities, from a sleazeball lover-boy to a flighty, flamboyant artistic type to a homemaker concerned with making everyone comfortable, they all make very interesting characters.”
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The story involves the isolated group with one, at least, being a murderer, she said.
“It keeps your attention,” she said. “There’s a murder in act one, and I won’t say what happens in act two — but there’s always the threat of murder hanging over the stage, I will say that. That’s what makes it fun.”
Along with entertainment, Christie’s play makes subtle points about human nature, and great actors bring it out, Chalfa said.
“The thing I love about the play is it presents eight people trying to hide a secret for fear of being judged,” she said. “Like unraveling a ball of yarn, you get bigger pictures of who each really is through each interaction. We have a great ensemble who play off each other so tightly and so well the audience will easily go right with them. I couldn’t have asked for better performers.
“Being a teacher, I analyze everything and I believe they do a beautiful job of getting at what Christie was trying to show: we never know anyone as thoroughly as we think we do. Especially not by surface assumptions. Our assumptions can lead to racism and sexism and other ills.”
But Chalfa said there’s no getting around the pure entertainment.
“It’s such a fun play,” she said. “It’s fun and funny and everyone will laugh as much as be in suspense.”
Chalfa said, “The Mousetrap” is a delightful re-entry into directing after retiring from MGA two years ago following 23 years teaching and directing 70-plus plays. And, she said, after not having directed for MLT in almost a dozen years.
“It’s MLT’s 85th year and I’m happy to be directing this season,” she said. “There’s a drive to find 1,000 people to give $85 each for new lighting and sound equipment. I intend to give my $85.”
Where: Macon Little Theatre, 4220 Forsyth Rd.
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 12-13 and Oct. 17-20, 2:30 p.m. Oct. 14, 21
Cost: $20 adults, $15 seniors, $10 students