It is a little-known fact that when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his many tales of "Sherlock Holmes," Holmes never uttered the phrase "Elementary, my dear Watson." Jonathan Bauer, executive producer of the Servant Stage production of "Sherlock Holmes, The Detective and The Doctor," noted that the famous line was actually introduced in later versions of Holmes mysteries. It is included in the script for the upcoming production, however. "Doyle never wrote it, but we use it because people have come to (expect that line)," added director Bonnie Bosso.
"Sherlock Holmes, The Detective and The Doctor" will run in the Black Box Theatre at The Trust Performing Arts Center, 37 N. Market St., Lancaster, on Thursdays through Sundays, Aug. 25 to 28, Sept. 1 to 4, and Sept. 8 to 11. Evening shows will be at 7 p.m. each day, and matinees will begin at 3 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.
Bosso, Bauer, and artistic director Wally Calderon chose "Sherlock Holmes" when selecting plays and musicals for the 2016 season, but having chosen the story found it difficult to find a script they liked. To remedy the problem, the group called on local playwright Kristen Brewer to write one. "It's hard to do (Sherlock Holmes) justice, but I think Kristen has done a beautiful job creating a nice mix of old-school Sherlock combined with some more modern-day (Sherlock) mixed together in play form," said Bosso. Bauer noted that Brewer pulled from several Holmes mysteries, including "Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Valley of Fear" to create the script. "We wanted some of the familiar characters - Moriarty, Irene Adler, Sherlock's brother Mycroft," noted Bauer.
According to Bosso and Bauer, the result is drama, suspense, comic relief, and more. Bosso noted that the repartee between Dan Deal as Holmes and Chris Wert as Watson is both witty and amusing. "Sherlock is clueless in some senses and brilliant in others," she said. "He makes these statements that are hysterical, but he isn't trying to be funny."
According to Deal, playing the character has its endearing charms. "Holmes is fun to play because he is on another level," said Deal. "He has this genius quality, and he is unapologetically who he is." Deal noted that Holmes does not need approval, nor does he care about the impression he makes. "He is just observing and figuring things out," said Deal. "There's a great line where he says, 'I don't see, Watson; I observe.' It is delightful to be on stage watching and observing."
Wert notes that his character, Watson, is a smart guy, but his sleuthing abilities are not equal to those of Holmes. "I love Watson because he is intelligent and educated, but he is 20 steps behind Sherlock," said Wert. "That's the brilliance of who (Watson) is and what he brings to the story." Wert noted that alone, Watson can hold his own because of what he has gleaned from Holmes. "Watson is learning from the master, but he is capable in his own right," said Wert.
Several members of the 10 players in the cast worked together a few years ago on "The Importance of Being Earnest," and the actors were excited to be working together again. "When you work with a team you are familiar with, it's just fun," noted Deal.
Bosso agreed, noting that the experience of working with familiar cast members has a positive effect on the final production. "There are a lot of years of (experience) in this room when the whole cast is together, and that is definitely fun," said Bosso, who added that she encourages improvisation during rehearsals. "I know this group and I know that they will find things 10 times better than what I would have imagined," she said.
The Black Box Theatre seats about 80 patrons. Readers who wish to purchase tickets to "Sherlock Holmes" may visit http://www.lancastertrust.com or call 208-7835.