Spring Musical: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Tom Bonan, Writer

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Last Friday, Bucknell’s Department of Theatre and Dance performed the first of four showings of Rupert Holmes’ “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” The department puts on a musical every other year, giving this year’s freshman and sophomore classes their first opportunity to perform this type of theater since they entered Bucknell.

 

The musical revolves around the plot of the novel “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” written by Charles Dickens but unfinished before his death in 1870. Because he was unable to finish the novel, many key plot points are missing, most notably (spoiler alert) who Edwin Drood’s killer was.

 

The musical interpretation of the work, under the same name, has a fictional acting company perform the unfinished musical and has the audience vote on some of the unknown aspects of the play. The voting process allows for multiple different endings, giving the audience the ability to see the characters progress in front of their eyes and ultimately lets them end the debate over the mystery that Dickens created  a century ago.

 

The musical’s humorous interpretation of the incompleteness of Dickens’ work is truly one of its more interesting aspects. Chloe D’Addio ’17, who played the part of Wendy in the fictional company, said “the genius of the musical is that we play a comedy troupe that is trying to put on a melodrama, creating a sort of comic and dramatic tension at the same time.” This created a very informal atmosphere during the musical, and the numerous (scripted) slip-ups, disagreements among the actors, and rowdiness helped facilitate a very fluid and fanciful portrayal of a serious work.

 

This interpretation of the musical was really something to behold. The cast was incredibly energetic and made an great effort to portray their character within the comedy troupe and extend that persona both into audience interaction and into the play in which they were supposed to be performing.  Sam Gates ’16 said the “energy of the performance was great and there was incredible collaboration between both the actors and the directors” who both worked hard to perform this challenging musical.

 

Bucknell’s Department of Theatre and Dance may only put on a musical once every two years, but it’s well worth the wait in order to see such a talented group of students come together like this.

 

 

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