I didn’t want this week to get away from me without checking in with the fun folks at the College of the Sequoias who staged such an ambitious production of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” That show, if you’ll recall, has literally hundreds of different possible endings because the audience gets to vote on three different questions:
- Who is the mysterious “Dick Datchery,” the disguised detective who shows up in the second act?
- Who is the murderer?
- Who should end up as the two lovers at the end of the play?
I checked in with COS’ Chris Mangels, curious how many different permutations were played out over the show’s seven-performance run:
Crisparkle and Bazzard were the most popular Datcherys and were the only ones ever selected.
We wound up getting to see every murderer except Durdles. Reverend Crisparkle was chosen twice.
The lovers had a lot of variety. Durdles and Puffer were chosen three times but we also got to see Puffer and Crisparkle, Rosa Bud and Durdles, and even the shocking pairing of the Landless twins (who deliver a hilarious indictment to the audience for being so perverted as to insist that they become lovers).
We usually rehearsed two Datcheries and two murderers per night at the Dress Rehearsals to accommodate their practice but we didn’t rehearse all 39 lover combinations. We DID make sure that we rehearsed in way that each possible lover got to go through a possible scene however, so no one was completely unprepared when chosen. Still, a few of the selections were surprising and caught our actors off guard (like Durdles and Rosa) but they all did a great job!