Carthage premieres ‘No Name’ as part of its New Play Initiative
A play written for Carthage by renowned playwright and screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher is enjoying its world premiere run in Carthage’s Wartburg Auditorium. No Name opened March 7 and continues through March 15. All performances are at 7:30 p.m.
By Jeffrey Hatcher
Adapted from the novel by Wilkie Collins
7:30 p.m. March 7-9, 13-15
Jeffrey Hatcher is the 2013-2014 Guest Artist in Carthage’s New Play Initiative. His award-winning plays have been performed on Broadway and around the world. He is best known for his plays Ten Chimneys, Compleat Female Stage Beauty, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He wrote the screenplays for the 2008 film The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes; the 2005 film Casanova, starring Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, and Jeremy Irons; and the 2004 film Stage Beauty, an adaptation of his play Compleat Female Stage Beauty, starring Claire Danes and Rupert Everett.
His newest work, No Name, tells the story of a sheltered, well-to-do young Englishwoman and her sister, who are thrown into poverty overnight by a distant relative who lays claim to their inheritance. Desperate to protect her family, the daring young Magdalen (played by Jane Burkitt ’14) bands together with a shifty con man (played by Andrew Stachurski ’14). Together they hatch an outrageous plot to reclaim her wealth.
“It’s a Victorian thriller, and in the spirit of a thriller, there’s both high drama and comedy,” says director Herschel Kruger, associate professor of theatre at Carthage and chair of the Fine Arts Division.
Mr. Hatcher adapted No Name from a 19th century novel of the same title by Wilkie Collins. “When Wilkie Collins wrote No Name, it was what they called a sensation drama,” Prof. Kruger says. “It was serialized, so a new chapter would come out every couple of weeks, much like a television show on HBO or Netflix today. Chapters would have these cliffhanger endings, and it created a lot of buzz. It was quite scandalous at the time.”
Says Andrew Stachurski, who plays Captain Wragge: “It’s a very funny, witty show that will take you on an emotional roller coaster. It’s a show that really explores the idea that when times are tough, that’s when you truly find out who you are.”
Magdalen, Jane Burkitt’s character, has the biggest personal journey. “In the beginning of the play, she is pretty spoiled,” Jane says. “Then both of her parents are killed in a train accident and her inheritance is taken away. There’s a lot of intrigue as she goes on a journey to get her inheritance back. Along the way, she loses sight of who she is until she doesn’t recognize herself anymore.”
She says audience members will love her character’s arc, get caught up by the play’s suspense, and enjoy a few laughs. “There are really funny moments,” she says. “As Magdalen, I don’t get many of them, but Captain Wragge is hilarious, and Mrs. Wragge is on a whole new level of funny.”
Even though No Name is not a musical, the Carthage production does use live music to tell the story. Three student musicians — John Kryl, Henry Kruger, and Macee Mueller — will perform. “We are using music to set the mood and help drive the action,” Prof. Kruger said. “Music can do wonderful things. It can help lift emotional moments. It can build tension. It can break tension.”
This summer, the cast of No Name will take a 90-minute version of the play to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the biggest fringe festival in the world. “The point of a fringe festival is to bring whatever you can, and show it to a bunch of people who love theatre, and get constructive criticism,” Jane says. “It’s a great experience.”
The Wartburg Auditorium is located in the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Natural and Social Sciences at the north end of campus.
Tickets are $12, or $8 for students and seniors. All Carthage students receive two free tickets to the show. To order tickets or reserve seats, call 262-551-6661 or send an email to email@example.com.