Like the train in the story, Absolute Theatre’s production of “Murder on the Orient Express” ground to a halt before completing its run.
At the same time the show was hitting its stride, the novel coronavirus was also gaining momentum. About halfway through the run, restrictions on public events and gatherings were issued statewide.
Six weeks later, the show is still officially delayed -- not cancelled.
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As the cast and crew disembarked, they left things ready for their return.
“As soon as the Castle works it out with the powers that be and can reopen, we’ll be there,” said Suzie Hansen, director of the show.
The set remains standing. The cast holds weekly line run-throughs online.
“When we left, we didn’t have time to take the set down,” Hansen said.
“It’s a beautiful set Doug Sween built,” she added.
That was fine with Naura Anderson, director of Threshold Arts at the Castle.
Anderson still visits the building to check on it and to assemble take-home art kits. Seeing the set on the third floor is reassuring, she said.
“It’s less depressing for me to see it set up for a specific purpose than to walk in and see an empty room,” she said.
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That also gives the Castle the ability to hold an event as soon as state health officials give the okay, she added.
With more than 40 events cancelled or postponed, Anderson said she has been reluctant to schedule anything.
The cast is also excited -- even if they don’t know how long they have to wait, rehearsal still gives them something to anticipate, Hansen said.
“It’s human nature,” she said. “We have to have something to look forward to.”
Anderson said in addition to not knowing when events can resume, she said it’s unclear what restrictions on public events will remain.
“It won’t be everything opening completely, all at once,” she said.
If group sizes are restricted, the remaining show run might include a couple weekends for smaller crowds, Hansen said.
The show is based on a 1934 Agatha Christie novel adapted for the stage in 2017 by Ken Ludwig.