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Masque Theatre - The Real Inspector Hound

The Real Inspector Hound is a murder mystery with a comedic twist

October 1, 2015
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Billed by Masque as a “murder mystery with a comedic twist,” Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Houndcomes to the Little Theatre this Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Oct. 1-3) at 7 p.m.

Directed by Christian Roberts ’17 and produced by Shannon Healey ’17, Masque’s A-Term production is an Agatha Christie-like spoof that raises questions for the characters, as well as the audience.

A madman is on the loose around Muldoon Manor while a storm rages and the mists swirl. Inspector Hound is on his way, but there’s already a body under the sofa.

Who is it?

For that matter, who is the real Inspector Hound?

“It’s a great environment to be in and watch them develop the characters further and take them to the next level.” – producer Shannon Healey ’17

And who belongs where in this play-within-a-play?

Healey “read the script and fell in love with it,” after Roberts asked her to pitch it with him to Masque last D-Term.

“He thought it was a lot of fun, really over the top,” she says.

Masque puts on four plays during the school year, one in each term. The bigger shows are in B- and D-Term, New Voices in D-Term. Smaller shows are done in A- and C-Terms.

“Anyone can pitch a show,” says Masque president Emma Raymond ’16, who is also coordinating publicity for Inspector Hound. “We hold the pitching meetings in front of the general body of Masque, and [they] vote.”

Last spring,Inspector Hound won out of a field of four possibilities.

Healey immediately recruited most of her production staff of 20 to 25, meeting with them over the course of the summer so that all final designs could be completed by early August.

“I wanted to make it go more swimmingly,” she says. “That way people have had a lot of time to mull over their designs and to be as creative as possible.”

To enhance that creativity, the technical components of the show were kept deliberately simple, say both Healey and Raymond.

“Christian’s original vision was for the tech to be light to make the audience immersed in the feeling that they’re in the living room of this wonderful mansion and taking part in this murder mystery,” Healey says.

Auditions for the cast of nine were held during the first week of A-Term, after students returned to campus.

This schedule allowed freshmen and new students to participate in the process. Assistant positions on the crew were also open to freshmen.

“We strive to get them involved so they can become members of the theatre community,” says Raymond.

Last week, with lines learned and stage directions down pat, Healey noted that the actors were “trying to figure out how to raise the bar–adding their own flavor. It’s a great environment to be in and watch them develop the characters further and take them to the next level.”

As both cast and crew prepare for opening night, they are having fun, note both women.

“During each show,” says Raymond, “you [always] meet little bumps, ups and downs. There have really only been ups in this one.”

Tickets are free for students and $5 for the public; they can be reserved through the Reservation System. For more information, contact hound@wpi.edu.

– BY LAURA PORTER