Norfolk, VA, January 3, 2019 – Michael Hollinger’s Red Herring noir-spoof comedy shows us love is as complicated as a murder mystery or spy plot, and bringing that concept to life is just as complicated. The Little Theatre of Norfolk’s cast of only six volunteer actors take on 18 roles in 24 scenes in this fast-paced, heartwarming romp that takes us back to McCarthy Era 1952.
Director John Gillis explains, “Scenes need to be changed at lightning speed, and characters need costume changes at the same speed, with no chance of the help of make-up for camouflage.” During auditions, Gillis focused on what the actors could do now, and how their audition performance suited the versatility required by the script.
While there are so many characters coming and going, there are three couples central to the plot of Red Herring. Boston detective Maggie Pelletier (Caity Brown) finds a proposal by her FBI agent boyfriend, Frank (Sean Thompson) as daunting as working a murder case. Frank is trailing Russian espionage involving physicist James (Nicholas Nauert), who happens to be engaged to Lynn (Amber Uphold), the (fictional) daughter of “Red Scare” Senator Joe McCarthy. Landlord Mrs. Kravitz (Alicia Wolters) rids of her Big Red Machine husband to pursue her flame, Russian fisherman Andrei (Howard Marchant).
The set design had its own challenge. With the exception of four of the scenes which are performed on a dock or fishing pier, 20 scenes are set in 20 different locations, such as the South Pacific, a church confessional, and a Boston bar. “Sitting down with my set designer, Shawn Crawford, over coffee, I unloaded my ideas on to her, which she took and along with Donna Dickerson [production], created the extensive scene that we have now,” said Gillis. “The dock or fishing pier had to be elevated to give the idea that if someone fell into the water – and they do – they had to actually fall, not just walk off the stage. Even Andrei’s herring seiner sails up to the pier and docks just to accentuate a more nautical appearance.” The variety of scenic locales are also brought to life using a few chairs, tables, a bed or two and a whole bunch of props.
The Little Theatre of Norfolk presents Red Herring, by Michael Hollinger, January 11 through February 3, Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 2:30PM. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors age 60+/active military/full-time students, and $9 for youth age 17 and under, available for purchase at http://www.ltnonline.org or by calling the box office at (757) 627-8551. Parking is free in the lots behind the theater and across the street.
About The Little Theatre of Norfolk
The Little Theatre of Norfolk, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich, and educate the diverse population of the region and enhance the economic vitality of Norfolk and the surrounding Hampton Roads area. Established in 1926, it is currently celebrating its 92nd season. The theatre is located at 801 Claremont Avenue, in the Chelsea neighborhood of Norfolk.