Agatha Christie whodunit is first production at Black Dog
July 20, 2011
By Sebastian Moraga
NOTE: An earlier edition of this story omitted the names of William Stone, Patti Penner and Ed Benson.
Rich Payne’s character in Agatha Christie’s play “And Then There Were None” is a millionaire.
In real life, Payne works at The Black Dog café in Snoqualmie. So, when he heard how his role in the play must not have been a big stretch, the restaurateur could not help but laugh.
“Oh, you know it,” he said.
Payne, a community theater actor since the early 1980s, said he’s thrilled with the chance to have theater in the café.
“It’s really neat to tie the two together,” he said. “The restaurant and the show.”
The stage at The Black Dog is dark, and has a black dog on it. Now, however, thanks to Fall City artist Bob Hise, it also has a beautiful seascape on it for the play.
“It’s really cool,” Payne said.
Payne credits director Susan Bradford with convincing him to appear in the play, which opens July 21.
“She’s a great director,” Bradford said. “She researches not just the play but the author to learn more about the psyche behind the play.”
Bradford and Payne met in the 1980s as part of Village Theatre in Issaquah. With time, the group morphed into other acting troupes like Tongue ‘n’ Cheek, the People’s Theater and now Theatre Black Dog.
The latter has put on plays like Harold Pinter’s “The Birthday Party” and Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and now Christie’s whodunit, written in 1939 and adapted for the stage in 1944.
“What makes it so timeless is the depth of the characters,” Bradford said. “The human characters and their plights really give us a catharsis to look at our own journey.”
Christie makes no mention of war, despite the play being set during World War II. Bradford said she did it so the play could be set in any time period.
Besides the scenery work by Hise and the acting of Payne, the play also includes Snoqualmie’s Christie Coffing — co-owner of the café — and North Bend’s Sean Stone, Noah Skultety, Craig Ewing and Tamara Bell. Ed Benson, Patti Penner and Sean’s dad William Stone round out the stellar cast.
“It’s a really nice blend, a great blend,” Bradford said. “I personally, as the director, could have gone all over Seattle and not gotten such a great cast.”
If you go
Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’
- Theatre Black Dog
- 8062 Railroad Ave. S.E., Snoqualmie
- 8 p.m. July 21, 22 and 28-30
- Valley Center Stage
- 119 North Bend Way, North Bend
- 8 p.m. Aug. 4-6