Wednesday, August 31, 2011

LCHS Drama to Perform Murder Mystery THEN THERE WERE NONE

Justice Wargrave, Vera Claythorne, Philip Lombard, General Macarthur, Emily Brent, Anthony Marston, Doctor Armstrong and William Blore have been invited to a mansion on the fictional Soldier Island, which is based upon Burgh Island off the coast of Devon. Upon arriving, they are told their hosts, a Mr. and Mrs. U.N. Owen (Ulick Norman Owen and Una Nancy Owen ), are currently away, but the guests will be attended to by Thomas and Ethel Rogers. Each guest finds in his or her room an odd bit of bric-a-brac and a framed copy of the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Soldiers" hanging on the wall.
The currently published, not the original version, of the rhyme goes:

Ten little Soldier boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine little Soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight little Soldier boys traveling in Devon;
One said he'd stay there and then there were seven.

Seven little Soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.

Six little Soldier boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.

Five little Soldier boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.

Four little Soldier boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.

Three little Soldier boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.

Two Little Soldier boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Soldier boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.

Before dinner that evening, the guests notice ten soldier boy figurines on the dining room table. During their meal, a gramophone record plays, accusing each of the ten of murder. Each guest acknowledges awareness of (and in some cases involvement with) the deaths of the persons named (except Emily Brent, who tells only Vera, who later tells the other guests), but denies any malice and/or legal culpability, except for Lombard.

The guests now realize they have been tricked into coming to the island, but find that they cannot leave: the boat which regularly delivers supplies has stopped arriving. They are murdered one by one, each death paralleling a verse of the nursery rhyme, with one of the figurines being removed after each murder.

First to die is the spoiled Anthony Marston, whose drink is poisoned with cyanide ("one choked his little self"). That night, Thomas Rogers notices that a figurine is missing from the dining table. Mrs. Rogers dies in her sleep that night, which Dr. Armstrong attributes to a fatal overdose of sleeping draught ("one overslept himself"). General Macarthur fatalistically predicts that no one will leave the island alive, and at lunch, is indeed found dead from a blow to the back of his skull ("one said he'd stay there"). Meanwhile, two more figurines have disappeared from the dining room. In growing panic, the survivors search the island in vain for the murderer. Justice Wargrave establishes himself as the decisive leader of the group and asserts one of them must be the murderer playing a sadistic game with the rest. The killer's twisted humor is evidenced by the names of their "hosts": "U.N. Owen" is a pun and a homophone for "unknown". The next morning, Rogers is missing, as is another figurine. He is found dead in the woodshed, struck in the back of the head with an axe ("one chopped himself in halves"). Later that day, Emily Brent is killed in the kitchen by an injection of potassium cyanide that leaves a mark on her neck ("A bumblebee stung one"), which at first appears to be a sting from a bumble bee placed in the room. The hypodermic needle is found outside her window next to a smashed china figurine. The five survivors — Dr. Armstrong, Justice Wargrave, Philip Lombard, Vera Claythorne, and William Blore — become increasingly frightened and almost frantic.

Wargrave suggests they lock up any potential weapons, including Armstrong's medical equipment and the judge's own sleeping pills. Lombard admits to bringing a revolver to the island, but says it has gone missing. Resolved to keep the killer from catching anyone alone, they gather in the drawing room and only leave one at a time. Vera goes up to her room and discovers a strand of seaweed: an allusion to the boy the gramophone alleged that she had drowned. Her screams attract the attention of Blore, Lombard, and Armstrong, who rush to her aid. When they return to the drawing room, they find Wargrave in a mockery of a judicial wig and gown with a gunshot wound in his forehead ("one got into Chancery"). Armstrong confirms the death, and they lay Wargrave's body in his room and cover it with a sheet. Shortly afterward, Lombard discovers his revolver has been returned.

That night, Blore hears someone sneaking out of the house. He and Lombard investigate and, discovering Armstrong missing, assume the doctor is the killer. They wake Vera and the three spend the night outdoors. In the morning, Blore leaves for food and does not return. Vera and Lombard soon discover his body on the terrace, skull crushed by a bear-shaped clock ("a big bear hugged one")—and on the shore, Armstrong, drowned ("a red herring swallowed one"). Paranoid, each assumes the other is the murderer. In the tense standoff that follows, Vera feigns compassion and has Lombard help her move Armstrong's body out of the water, using the opportunity to pick his revolver from his pocket. She kills Lombard with a shot through the heart on the beach ("one got frizzled up") and returns to the house. Dazed and disoriented with relief and drowsiness, Vera Claythorne is unsurprised to find a noose prepared in her room. In a trance of exhaustion, guilt, and relief, she hangs herself, fulfilling the final verse of the rhyme.[8]

[edit] EpilogueInspector Maine, the detective in charge of the Soldier Island case, discusses the mystery with his Assistant Commissioner, Sir Thomas Legge, at Scotland Yard. There are no clues on the mainland—the man who arranged "U.N. Owen's" purchase of the island covered his tracks well, and was killed the day the party set sail—and while guests' diaries establish a partial timeline, the police cannot determine the order in which Blore, Armstrong, Lombard, and Vera were killed. Blore could not have dropped the clock on himself; Armstrong's body was dragged above the high-tide mark; Lombard was shot on the beach, but his revolver was found outside Wargrave's room. Lombard's pistol having Vera's fingerprints and the clock that killed Blore coming from her room both point to Vera as "U.N.Owen"-yet that someone was alive after Vera's suicide is obvious since the chair Vera used to hang herself had been righted and replaced against the wall.

Inclement weather would have prevented the murderer from leaving or arriving separately from the guests: he or she must have been among them. Yet all the murders appear to be accounted for, and the inspectors are confused, leaving them asking - Who killed them, and why?

The following details of the characters are based on the original novel. Stage and film adaptations have often varied with names and backgrounds, such as Judge Wargrave being renamed Cannon and Lombard accused of causing the death of his pregnant girlfriend.

Anthony James Marston, a rich, spoiled, good-looking man with a well-proportioned body, crisp hair, tanned face and blue eyes known for his reckless driving. Mr. Owen accused Anthony of running over and killing two children, while drunk, for which Marston felt no remorse. Marston was the first of Owen's victims, poisoned by potassium cyanide slipped into his drink while gathered in the drawing room with the others.

Mrs. Ethel Rogers, the cook and Mr. Rogers's wife. She is described as a pale-faced, ghostlike woman with shifty light eyes, who is very scared of something. Despite her respectability and efficiency, she was obliged to help her domineering husband, Thomas, to kill their former employer, the elderly Miss Jennifer Brady, by withholding her medicine, in order to inherit her money. She was Owen's second victim, dying in her sleep from an overdose of chloral hydrate, which she did not self-administer.

General John Gordon Macarthur, a retired World War I hero, who sent his wife's lover (a younger officer named Arthur Richmond) to his death by assigning him to a suicide mission. MacArthur fatalistically accepts that no one will leave the island alive, which he confides to Vera. Shortly thereafter, he becomes Owen's third victim, his head being crushed in as he sat along the shore.

Thomas Rogers, the butler and Mrs. Rogers's husband. He and his weak-willed wife, whom he dominated, killed their former elderly employer by withholding her medicine, causing the elderly woman to die from heart failure, in order to inherit the money she had left them in her will. He was Owen's fourth victim, being struck in the head with an axe as he cut firewood in the woodshed.

Emily Caroline Brent, a rigid and repressed elderly woman of harsh moralistic principles who uses The Bible to justify her inability to show compassion or understanding for others. She firmly believes in racial equality, stating "Black or white, they are our brothers.". She dismissed her maid, Beatrice Taylor, as punishment for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. As a result Beatrice, who had also been rejected by her own family, threw herself into a river and drowned. Miss Brent became Owen's fifth victim after being injected with a dose of potassium cyanide into her neck as she sat alone at the dining table after being drugged.

Dr. Edward George Armstrong, a Harley Street surgeon, blamed for the death of his patient, Louisa Clees, while operating under the influence of alcohol. Armstrong became Owen's seventh victim after being pushed off a cliff into the sea. His body goes missing for a while, leading others to think he is the killer, but his corpse washes up at the end of the novel, leading to the climax.

William Henry Blore, a retired police inspector and now a private investigator, accused of having an innocent man, James Landor, sentenced to life imprisonment as a scapegoat after having been bribed. The man later died in prison. He initially denies the accusation-although he later privately admits the truth to Lombard. Blore became Owen's perceived eighth victim, having his skull crushed by a bear-shaped clock, dropped from a window above outside the house.

Philip Lombard, a soldier of fortune. Literally down to his last square meal, he comes to the island with a loaded revolver. Though he is reputed to be a good man in a tight spot, Lombard is accused of causing the deaths of a native African tribe when he stole food from the tribe, thus causing their starvation and subsequent death. Unlike the other characters, he admits openly that the accusations against him are true, but feels no remorse for his actions.Though not an actual victim of Owen's, Lombard fulfilled the ninth referenced verse of the rhyme, shot to death on the beach by Vera, who at the time believed him to be the murderer.

Vera Elizabeth Claythorne, a young teacher, secretary, and ex-governess, who takes mostly secretarial jobs since her last job as a governess ended in the death of her charge, Cyril Hamilton. She let young Cyril swim out to sea and drown so that his uncle, Hugo Hamilton, could inherit his money and marry her; the plan backfired, as Hamilton abandoned her when he suspected what she had done. Of all the "guests" Vera is the one most tormented by latent guilt for her crime, yet is made to suffer the most, being the last survivor. She eventually meets her demise when she walks back to her room after shooting Lombard. There she finds a readied noose, complete with chair beneath it, suspended from her ceiling. Again, not technically a victim of Owen's, but guilt-ridden and delusional, Vera climbs the chair, adjusts the noose round her neck, and kicks the chair away, fulfilling the rhyme's final verse as the tenth and final victim.

Justice Lawrence John Wargrave, a retired judge, well-known as a "hanging judge" for liberally awarding the death penalty in murder cases. He himself is suspected of murder because of his summation and jury directions during the trial of an accused murderer named Edward Seton, despite doubts about Seton's guilt during the trial.
Sir Thomas Legge and Inspector Maine, two detectives who discuss the case in the epilogue.
Isaac Morris, a man hired by Mr. Owen who arranges for Phillip Lombard to come to the island and meet Mr Owen for a later payment of 100 guineas (105 GBP) to Lombard. In the book's postscript, the detectives discuss Morris' death, caused by a medication given to him by Mr. Owen, apparently to help with his "gastric juices." Morris' crime was having supplied a young woman with illegal drugs that led to her suicide by overdose.

Fred Narracott, the boatman who delivered the guests to the island. After doing so he does not appear again in the story, although Inspector Maine notes that it was Narracott who found the bodies.
[edit] Publication history

For the United States market, the novel was first serialised in the Saturday Evening Post in seven parts from 20 May (Volume 211, Number 47) to 1 July 1939 (Volume 212, Number 1) with illustrations by Henry Raleigh and then published separately in book form in January 1940. Both publications used the less inflammatory title And Then There Were None. The 1945 motion picture also used this title. In 1946, the play was published under the new title Ten Little Indians (the same title under which it had been performed on Broadway), and in 1964 an American paperback edition also used this title.

British editions continued to use the work's original title until the 1980s and the first British edition to use the alternative title And Then There Were None appeared in 1985 with a reprint of the 1963 Fontana Paperback.[10] Today And Then There Were None is the title most commonly used.[citation needed] The original title survives in many foreign-language versions of the novel: for example, the Spanish title is"Diez negritos", the Greek title is Δέκα Μικροί Νέγροι, the Bulgarian title is Десет малки негърчета, the Romanian title is Zece negri mititei,[11] the French title is Dix petits nègres[12] and the Hungarian title is Tíz kicsi néger, while the Italian title, Dieci piccoli indiani, mirrors the "Indians" title. The Dutch 18th edition of 1994 still used the work's original English title Ten Little Niggers. The 1987 Russian film adaptation has the title Десять негритят (Desyat Negrityat). The computer adventure game based on the novel uses "Ten Little Sailor Boys".

Christie, Agatha (January 1940). And Then There Were None. New York: Dodd, Mead. OCLC 1824276. Hardback, 264 pp. (First US edition)
1944, Pocket Books, 1944, Paperback, 173 pp (Pocket number 261)
1947, Pan Books, 1947, Paperback, 190 pp (Pan number 4)
1958, Penguin Books, 1958, Paperback, 201 pp (Penguin number 1256)
Christie, Agatha (1963). And Then There Were None. London: Fontana. OCLC 12503435. Paperback, 190 pp. (The 1985 reprint was the first UK publication of novel under title And Then There Were None).[13]
Christie, Agatha (1964). Ten Little Indians. New York: Pocket Books. OCLC 29462459. (first publication of novel as Ten Little Indians)
1964, Washington Square Press (paperback – teacher's edition)

1 comment:

Camilla Cortney said...

Can't wait to see it!