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Lafayette College Theater will debut its production of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound 8 p.m. tonight at the Williams Center for the Arts Black Box theater. The play will run through Saturday.

Based on The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, The Real Inspector Hound breaks down the wall between stage and auditorium to create a play-within-a-play. The comedic thriller, which mocks theater critics, traditional theater clichés, and thrillers, invites the audience to help solve the Muldoon Manor murder.

Tickets for the performance are sold out for today and Friday. They cost $2 for students, $3 for others with Lafayette ID, and $6 for the public. They may be purchased by calling the box office at 610-330-5009.

“The play is a murder mystery with a clever twist and a surprise ending,” says Joshua Brodsky, a senior neuroscience major from Needham, Mass. “All characters are potential suspects. One of the fun challenges for me is portraying Inspector Hound in a way that makes the audience wonder whether he is guilty.”

Behind the scenes, director Michael O’Neill is helping each cast member develop their theatrical talents.

“The hardest thing about acting in a comedy for most people is comedic timing,” says Rashada Norman, a senior computer science major from Bethlehem, Pa. Norman, who will play Cynthia in the production, explains that O’Neill has worked hard to cultivate her comedic instincts.

“My Lafayette theater experience has been positive,” she adds. “At Lafayette, everyone has an equal chance at roles, regardless of major. You may not find this at other schools.”

Scenery for the production is by Richard A. Kendrick, lighting by Vicki Neal, costumes by D. Polly Kendrick of Parrot Designs, and sound by Timothy Frey. Katherine Rewinkel, a senior English major from Sunnyvale, Calif., is stage manager.

“As a stage manager, I get to see the show grow from inception to performance,” says Rewinkel, who has managed all four of this year’s College Theater productions, including Mother Courage and Her Children, Two Gentleman of Verona, and The Club (see related story). “I’m involved in the rehearsal process; recording, blocking, and taking care of props; and scene and costume changes. What interests me most is that I get to see the show through its stages of development, not just the final product.”

Rewinkel, who aspires to be a stage manager after graduation, wrote her own play in Brechtian style, which was performed during Lafayette’s annual Fringe festival (see related story).

Born in Zlin, Czechoslovakia in 1937, Stoppard became internationally acclaimed for plays like Rozenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Night and Day, The Real Thing, and In Native State. His work deals with complex philosophical issues and features puns, jokes, innuendo, and other wordplay.

Senior mechanical engineering major Terrence Monte of Valhalla, N.Y., will star as Moon. He is no stranger to College Theater, having performed in Major Barbara, Mother Courage and Her Children, Translations, The Skin of Our Teeth, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A Marquis Scholar, Monte has just accepted an offer to attend one of the most prestigious MFA acting programs in the country at University of Iowa (see related story).

Brodsky is also a veteran of College Theater and credits O’Neill with helping him develop as an actor.

“Michael helps us understand the meaning of our characters and tries to bring the essence of each play alive,” he explains. “He always employs clever devices to achieve this goal.”

Brodsky spent the summer working as an EXCEL Scholar under the guidance of Gabrielle Britton, assistant professor of psychology. The research team studied Pavlovian eye blink and fear conditioning in rats (see related story). Their work was funded by a grant Britton received from National Institutes of Health (see related story).

A member of The Chorduroys, Lafayette’s male a capella group, Brodsky performs with the college choir and serves as a teaching assistant for physiological psychology. He has accepted a position in the pathology lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and hopes to attend medical school in fall 2004.

During her years at Lafayette, Norman has performed in a number of productions, including The Tempest, Two Gentleman of Verona, Mother Courage and Her Children, and Working. As an EXCEL Scholar, she worked with Ryan Tobin ’03 of Pennsburg, Pa., to computerize the holdings of Lafayette’s music library (see related story). J. Larry Stockton, professor and head of music, served as their mentor.

Norman, who is interested in a career in web development, served an internship with New Vision Communications, a full service communications agency in Allentown. In addition to learning more about the creative process, she was introduced to software programs like Dreamweaver, Flash, and Director.

A tutor through America Reads, America Counts, Norman works at Kirby Sports Center as a facility monitor and in the office of public information as part of the web design team.

Moon – mechanical engineering major Terrence Monte ’03 (Valhalla, N.Y.)
Birdboot – mechanical engineering major Jeremy Deaner ’04 (Fitchburg, Wisc.)
Mrs. Drudge — Marianna Macri ’06 (Malvern, Pa.)
Simon — John L. Sullivan ’06 (Wyncote, Pa.)
Cynthia – computer science major Rashada Norman ’03 (Bethlehem, Pa.)
Felicity – Emily Becher ’06 (Loudonville, N.Y.)
Magnus — Kevin Chysna ’06 (Northborough, Mass.)
Inspector Hound – neuroscience major Josh Brodsky ’03 (Needham, Mass.)
Mysterious Corpse – chemical engineering major Garret Nicodemus ’04 (Lake Charles, La.)

Categorized in: Students