And Then There Were None: Summer Chills' Countdown to Murder

Ten years ago, Alley Theatre actress Josie de Guzman played the same role she's playing this summer -- that of Vera Claythorne, a secretary invited to a dinner party on an island thrown by Mr. and Mrs. Owen. The party turns progressively deadly as the evening goes on in until the title of the piece is realized: And Then There Were None. For Jennifer Harmon, last seen here at the Alley as the mother in August: Osage County,this is her first time acting in an Agatha Christie play. The one she's in is Christie's best seller ever, which means a lot of people have read the book or seen the play.

For both, it's a chance to play amateur detective and enjoy the writing skills of the late author who wrote so very many plays that have been put on all over the globe.

"She's an incredible craftsman," Harmon said referring to the late author. "The moments she brings a gear shift in the play are always earned."

Many of the same actors who were in the earlier Alley production of And Then There Were None are in this production, de Guzman said, but in different roles.

She says Summer Chills is great fun, both for the actors who get a slightly longer run to sink into their roles and for the audience whose members tend to lean forward in their seats as they attempt to sort things out.

"Those kind of mysteries, they're timeless. Murder has been part of humanity since time began," de Guzman said.

According to Rodi Franco, the Alley's director of communications, 20 percent of the Summer Chills audience comes back every year for its dose of classic murder mystery.

The Alley Theatre's Summer Chills production featuring And Then There Were None begins performances Wednesday, June 29, opens officially Friday, July 1 and runs through Sunday, July 31 on the Hubbard Stage. Tickets are available at www.alleytheatre.org, at the Alley Theatre Box Office, 615 Texas Avenue, or by calling 713.220.5700.

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