The Tillamook Association for the Performing Arts (TAPA) and The Oregon Coast Dance Center are pleased to announce the cast of Sherlock’s Secret Life directed by Robert Buckingham, which opens at The Barn Community Playhouse in Tillamook on August 30th. This Sherlock Holmes isn’t quite the same detective we’ve met in the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Set as a “prequel” to Doyle’s writings, Sherlock’s Secret Life written by Ed Lange, (which was originally co-produced by the New York State Theatre Institute and Actors' Company of Pennsylvania) shows a younger, more vulnerable and idealistic Sherlock Holmes, portrayed by TAPA newcomer Peter Vultaggio, and also portrays a different side to Sherlock’s landlady, Mrs. Hudson, portrayed by Karen Downs. The play also explores the relationship she has with both Sherlock and his partner in crime-solving, Dr. John Watson, portrayed by Ben Ruderman. The play introduces a new character, the supposed “true” love of Sherlock’s life, portrayed by Samantha Swindler, whose identity and motives remain a mystery for the detective and doctor until a dramatic final scene. Also featured is the lovable Inspector Lestrade portrayed by Gerry Cortimilia, Sherlock’s nemesis Professor Moriarty portrayed by Stewart Martin and the aged Dr. Watson portrayed by Bill Farnum.
Audiences who attend the Sept. 7th performance will get a special treat, as members of the Noble and Most Singular Order of the Blue Carbuncle, a Sherlock Holmes society based in Portland, will be traveling from the valley to see the production in period dress. The group met the cast and production team in June and was photographed together.
Formed in 1971, The Blue Carbuncle Society holds formal dinners, discusses themes related to Holmesian fiction, and takes an academic approach to appreciating Doyle’s work. From 1887 to 1928, Doyle published 56 short stories and four novels featuring the deductive reasoning of detective Sherlock Holmes.
“We refer to all Conan Doyle’s writings pertaining to Sherlock as the canon,” said James Cassetta, who is serves as Grand Gander, or head, of the group. “We consider the writings to be inspired.”
New members must spend a year as an “egg,” attending five of the group’s events before being grilled on the canon at the Christmas dinner. If an egg demonstrates proper knowledge as judged by the group, he is allowed to become a member.
Once accepted, members take on a canonical name from a character in Doyle’s writings. Cassetta took his moniker, William Crowder, from the gamekeeper in "The Boscombe Valley Mystery.” His wife, Jan Cassetta, is Lady Frances Carfax from “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax.”
“The actual character of Sherlock Holmes is interesting,” said Jan Cassetta. “He’s a very complex man. He’s very bright but he has sort of a manic depressive quality to him.”
While “Sherlock’s Secret Life” takes some liberties with Doyle’s story lines, the play is true to much of the historic literature. Of course, one mustn’t be intimately familiar with the “Holmesian canon” to enjoy the play, but those who are will recognize some familiar faces. The story is told through the memories of an older Dr. Watson, now in his final years, looking back on the one adventure he never told of his friend, Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock’s Secret Life runs August 30 through September 15 with an opening night champagne reception with a complimentary beverage and appetizers on August 30. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7 pm and the Sunday performances begin at 2pm. Doors open one-half hour prior to curtain. The Barn Community Playhouse is located at 12th and Ivy in Tillamook. Reserved seating is available through Diamond Art Jewelers at (503) 842-7940. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors or students, and $40 for a family of four. For more information, visit facebook.com/tillamooktheater or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cast of “Sherlock’s Secret Life” is, standing, from left: Karen Downs, Gerry Cortimilia, Stewart Martin, Peter Vultaggio, Samantha Swindler, Ben Ruderman, Bill Farnum & Sarah Edwards.
Members of the Noble and Most Singular Order of the Blue Carbuncle are, seated, from left, James Cassetta, Jan Cassetta, Judy Lyen, Maria Vaughan, Terri Zensen and John Ellis.