Well, the last couple of days have had added to them the need to learn lines for The Mousetrap, which opens around the 24th of this month (or 24th inst, as a character in the play would put it). For those who haven't caught up with what's happened, a person had to drop out of the cast due to illness, just last weekend, and so I've taken over his (thankfully fairly small) role. The character is Paravicini, who may or may not be a fraud, and who - as he hints more than once - isn't quite what he appears.
To my amazement you can get a 52-page study guide to The Mousetrap. Crikey...the script is only 69 pages long as it is! Let's hope they don't give away the denouement - it's traditional to ask the audience before the play starts not to do so. The study guide has things like Historical context, critical essays and overview, and much more. Two interesting points from the historical context: Food is in such short supply in England that 53,000 horses were consumed
for food in the previous year to feed a population that now exceeds
fifty million people. And in London, a four-day smog kills more than
four thousand people.
Makes you glad to be living in 2011, doesn't it? The characters mention ration books in the play, and there are several other lines that have had to be elucidated for younger members of the cast - and such a discussion has reminded those who lived in the UK in the fifties of some of the privations they and their families went through.
The other interesting thing about reading the script for the first time, is the way Christie's wit shines through it: the rather dour photo that appears of many of her book covers doesn't indicate just how much fun she can be as a writer (I've found one that shows her warmer side better). Some of her books are more humorous than not, and certainly The Mousetrap has some very funny lines.